- Either Iran or Saudi Arabia.
- Denmark and Finland
- Ha ha.
- Probably Uruguay.
- Indeed. A south American one
- R1- racist!!!!!!!!!!!
reactionary loser on datalounge
- Colombia will not but I wish it would.
- Yes, probably a Latin American country. Uruguay has it in the pipeline. Mexico City already offers it, so Mexico might be next.
- [quote]so Mexico might be next.\
Actually, same sex marriages are recognized all over Mexico. Same sex couples simply must go to Mexico city for the license, which is a minor hassle compared to what we (don''t) have in the US. My partner and I would be thrilled if we could go to DC and get a marriage license that would be recognized at home and by the fed gov. The US sucks. Canada and Mexico are far ahead of us in terms of rights for their citizens.
- Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil or Mexico are good possibilities. (Mexico City already has it.)%0D\
I hear Taiwan has been debating it. Israel, too.%0D\
The fact that we''re discussing countries in Latin America & Asia is amazing in itself. Things are changing fast everywhere. %0D\
If Italy elects a gay president next year, as I read COULD actually happen, maybe things will change more there.
- I will agree that the U.S. is [italic]far[/italic] behind in terms of gay rights, but Mexico is currently a hellhole by most every other standard.
- Who is the gay Italian, r10?
- Nichi Vendola, R12. I think R10 means Prime Minister, though, since the Italian President is only a ceremonial Head of State.
- Isn''t one of the leading nominees for president or prime minister in Ireland openly gay, too?
- Considering Germany rounded up Gays and killed and experimented on them in Concentration camps, you would think they would want to give Gays full equality to make up for this history, but I guess Nazi ideology is still very much alive and well in Germany today.
- We''re thinking of visiting Uruguay later this year to see if it might be a good place to own property and live most of the time. Anyone else been there? Seems like a nicely laid back place, and a short ferry ride to Buenos Aires.
- Denmark would say it was a pioneer before all of the ones OP named.%0D
- I''d say the likeliest are New Zealand, Thailand (tourism thing for foreigners only), South Africa, France, Austria, Slovenia, and Estonia, with Germany, Finland, UK, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ireland shamefacedly looking on because of their dimwitted turn to conservatives.%0D
- South Africa already has gay marriage, R19. \
I find some of your other choices less than credible... France and Austria are more conservative than commonly perceived in the Americas, for one.
- I''d say in order%0D\
- Mexico sort of already has it - so long as you get married in the Federal District, it''s nationally recognized.
- what is the problem with denmark? is the gay movement dead and content with civil unions there?
- [quote]France and Austria are more conservative than commonly perceived in the Americas, for one.\
Precisely. Both countries are socially very conservative, especially outside the big tourist areas.
- In my view
between 2012 and 2020
between 2020 and 2050
Australia / N-Z
Turkey (first muslim)
All South America
Croatia / Poland / Baltic Country / Bulgaria / Romania / Slovakia / Slovenia / ...
between 2050 and 2100
- UK should hurry the fuck up and do it. It's an embarrassment. It won't even recognize gay marriages.
- China will do it this decade. Practical reasons. There are 135 young men for every woman and they need an outlet so the don't start a crime wave.
- The sex ratio problem in China is going to create major headaches.
I imagine Chinese men who can afford to will start looking for wives from poorer neighboring countries. North Korea, maybe?
Poorer men will probably have to pool together to afford brides, those women will probably end up "married" to groups of male relatives and will serve as communal maids/sex slaves.
Essentially, I think China's imbalance will probably entail things getting even worse for women as opposed to things getting marginally better for gay men.
- It's ridiculous that things are taking so long in the UK as there is now cross party support for same sex marriage and opposite sex civil partnerships. The Scottish parliament have begun their consultation at least and all being well England and Wales will follow in the next month or two. God only knows what will happen here in Northern Ireland despite being the first of the Union to bring in civil partnerships. Too many fundies in government over here for this to pass easily into being.
- Too many Americans assume fundamentalism when it's really traditionalism. They're not the same thing. Other nations often don't mirror the US's political wars.
- Bullshit, R29. China's not a bunch of fishing villages anymore. Women in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou drag their pretty boys around like slaves, and the prettier boys are pairing off with each other. They will have gay marriage, with no problem.
The scenario you are describing is actually India. Crazy religious fuckers just like the Americans.
- Anyone who thinks religion in India is like religion in the United States is an idiot.
- The Danish government is planning to introduce same-sex marriage legislation this year. Polling approval in the Danish public is ca. 70 percent. I'll bet you $10,000 that Denmark will be the next country.
- R31 I wasn't sure if your comment was in response to my post at R30 but I am posting from Ireland and was referring to fundies in Northern Ireland not the US.
- Taiwan. Thanks in part to Ang Lee.
- The interesting thing about Ireland is that the Irish took a long time to join the church in Rome. One thing that held it up was the marriage laws. In Ireland, clergy could marry, there was same-sex marriage and there was trial marriage (lasting one year and a day). Today, this is a well-kept secret because we're all supposed to believe the lie that marriage everywhere has ALWAYS been between one man and one woman.
- The UK is still under the control of Jesus freaks. Not nearly as bad as the USA....but still
- Brazil would be my next pick.
- no way. Brazil can't even pass a federal anti-discrimination law (just like the U.S.). Religious conservatism is exploding in Brazil, especially Pentecostalism, and it is flexing its muscle in politics.
- R41 is right. Fundamentalist Protestantism is encroaching on Catholic territory in Brazil so much that the Vatican is freaking out. They are trying to figure out how they can stem the tide of conversions. If Brazil "falls", look for the movement to spread to other staunchly Catholic areas like Chile, Peru and Paraguay. I think Argentina may be spread though. They seem way more liberal and European than the rest of Latin America.
- Catholicism is quickly declining throughout Latin America, and fervent Pentecostalism and charismatic Christianity is exploding exponentially.
- I'm going to guess Denmark, since it's a very pro-gay country and right next to Sweden and Norway where they do have gay marriage.
I can't understand what's taking so fucking long in the UK. They're almost as bad as the US. But then again, they always do try to copy Americans.
- Well the UK was very against it until recently, particularly in the Conservative Party.
If they're moving towards it now, I'd say that's a pretty good improvement from the way things were.
- Well i guess Denmark will probably be the next followed by the U.K. Uruguay, if they are going to pass it, are really dragging their feet. Australia will eventually pass it probably within the next ten years.
- Australia seems anti-gay to me.
Don't they have a female Prime Minister who said she is against it?
- Mexico. I wouldn't be surprised if they beat the U.S. to the punch.
- [quote]Australia seems anti-gay to me.
I've always thought the same thing. And Australian people in general seem like assholes. Not surprising considering this is the same country where Mel Gibson grew up.
Such a shame that such a beautiful country has such shitty people.
- New Zealand
- The global swing to the right has put a chill on gay marriage prospects. In fact, Spain could repeal gay marriage under its new huge rightwing government.
- David Cameron told Britain’s Christians he doesn’t want to fall out with them over plans to allow gay marriage, as he hailed a “Christian fightback” against attempts to ban crucifixes and public prayer.
“I think there’s something of a fightback going on, and we should welcome that,” the prime minister told guests including church ministers and Christian politicians at an Easter reception in his official Downing Street residence in London today. “The values of the Bible, the values of Christianity are the values that we need.”
Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said Feb. 11 that Christians face “gradual marginalization” in the U.K. He was referring to a case in which a local council in southwest England was banned by a court from opening its meetings with prayers. Cameron cited the case in his speech and pointed out that the government had responded by changing the law.
The prime minister faces a battle with some Christians over his plans to introduce same-sex marriages. The U.K. currently has civil partnerships, which offer most of the legal benefits of marriage. The government is asking for the views of the public on allowing gay couples to be married in civil ceremonies, though not in church.
Cameron offered what he described as a “plea” to the assembled churchmen. “I hope we won’t fall out too much over gay marriage,” he said. “There’ll be some strong arguments and some strong words.”
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, told BBC television last month that the proposals represented an “unjustified change” to the law and required the consent of the Church of England. Sentamu is a leading candidate to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican church.
Guests at today’s reception told the prime minister after his speech he was wrong to be looking at the issue, arguing that the legal definition of marriage should remain a union between a man and a woman. Cameron had sought to reassure his audience that his proposals would “change what happens in a register office, not what happens in a church.”
Cameron opened his speech with a reference to his recent political difficulties, which have seen his poll ratings slump after a budget that included a cut in the top rate of income tax and panic-buying of gasoline as ministers urged motorists to stock up in preparation for a possible strike.
“In the past week I’ve felt like I needed someone to pray for me,” he said, looking at the assembled church representatives. “They might have overdone it.”
- Europe is swinging right because the natives have had it with all the Muslims.
- r54, I wouldn't say that Europe is necessarily swinging rightwards because of the Muslims. They're simply starting to defend liberal Western culture in the face of those who would destroy it.
In some countries (France, for example) those taking the lead in opposing Islam are also, unfortunately, illiberal, often anti-Semitic and anti-gay. Yet in other places, like the Netherlands, the anti-Muslim movements actually seek to defend us.
I have no problems with political movements that seek to put a stop to Dark Ages religious fundamentalism.
- The BBC is certainly not going to support PM David Cameron on this. They still give equal airtime to religious persons who want to kill gays. Further more, the BBC has so few gay employees, they fail to make Stonewalls employment equality index, while the Murdock owned ITV rates #27.
It is really terrible that Germany, the country who round up Gays and killed them in concentrations camps, still treats Gays as second class citizens. You would think Germany would want to make up for this history and be a world leader regarding Way equality.
I guess the Nazi hatred of the past is still very much alive today in the German people.
- [quote]Mexico. I wouldn't be surprised if they beat the U.S. to the punch.
As someone else has already pointed, Mexico already recognizes gay marriage all over the country. It's just that the ceremony must be done in Mexico city.
- The last 3 countries in the world to legalize Gay marriage will be Saudi Arabia, Iran and the USA.
- Cameron is signaling that the backlash against gay marriage is so great in the UK that he is willing to back down. He looked weak before anti-gay marriage groups, essentially groveling to placate them. THey have won.
- Meanwhile, in Australia, Labor suffered a bruising defeat in Queensland, and opinion polls show Labor is in trouble.
- The pro-gay side seems so lethargic in the UK, while the anti-gay side seems very vocal and organized.
- In the UK they just need politicians with courage.
In Canada, when Prime Minister Jean Chretien publicly supported full equal marriage, the majority of Canadians (pressured by a massive national campaign, funded by US Christians) did not support it. Chretien stood his ground, threatened to fire any of his MPs who did not vote for it and it passed. After seeing they were conned by US Christians, the majority of Canadians now support it. (Excluding the Province of Alberta and Immigrants)
This is a leader. David Cameron needs some French Canadian courage.
- What do you expect from a country born of convicts. [R48]
But that just means that gay Polish men will be legally allowed to marry Polish lesbians.
- Since most of the former communist eastern block countries grew up with an officially atheist state, you would think that they would have less religious reasons , and would be more open to gay marriage.
- r65, the fallacy of that type of supposition is based on the erroneous notion that opposition to homosexuality is only or mainly religious. In fact, historically and today, much of the opposition if non-religious. Much of it is based on notions of what a man should be and masculinity. Much of it is based on dislike of certain mannerisms associated with gay men, or to a lesser degree, lesbians. For others, it's an intolerance of anything different or non-mainstream.
- Most atheist states tend to have more radical underground religions feeding on the rebellion to official policy. The notable exception being the USA, which has the lions share of the religious wackos on the planet today.
- Of course and Islam country can have gay marriage, if you think otherwise you're a racist, plain and simpple
- [quote] the BBC has so few gay employees, they fail to make Stonewalls employment equality index, while the Murdock owned ITV rates #27.
Murdoch owns the much smaller and hardly progressive Sky satellite channel, not ITV. [R56]
The BBC only started monitoring and reporting on sexual orientation since April 2011 so might not have enough data to make the list, yet, as its own Diversity Plan only aims to report from this year onwards. You can dig up a webcache of its plan if you have set up google docs.
Nobody who watches its output would suspect that the BBC is particularly homophobic. Quite the reverse, if anything.
- [quote]The UK is still under the control of Jesus freaks. Not nearly as bad as the USA....but still
You'd think so if you read the Daily Mail or MSN.uk but honestly, I think most ordinary people just don't care one way or the other. There are a lot of pro-gay people but the anti-gays ALWAYS make themselves sound more vocal by their bile and multiple posts/aliases, etc.
Conservative PM Cameron is surprsingly (and pleasantly) gay-friendly and wants to push gay marriage through. His Conservative cabinet will make a fuss but since half of them are fucking well closeted anyway he'll get his way eventually. The Anglican Church is just making itself ever more assbootish and irrelevent with its whining (if not gays then women bishops...yawn). Those people will fight and bicker among one another until they are no more. Gays will still be being born long after religions have imploded.
[quote]Bullshit, [R29]. China's not a bunch of fishing villages anymore. Women in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou drag their pretty boys around like slaves, and the prettier boys are pairing off with each other.
Actually, via YouTube, you tend to note ORDINARY especially poor ordinary Chinese protest and make anti-establishment nuiscances of themselves ALL the time. The poor Chinese are incredibly fiesty people, and this idea that they all toe the establishment line is utter bull. Chinese prisons are ram-packed with people who have spoken out against government or have been hauled off into mental institutions for simply standing up to authority. Incredibly, there is little to stop Chinese government and police throwing these people into lunatic asylums and leaving them to rot rather than acknowledging their existence and right to have a voice (think Victorian Britain asylums).
Sorry a good deal off topic there but I wanted to say bravo (or Brava! if you're Wentworth Miller) for your contribution. Far too many westerners think the Chinese are a nation of nodding dogs but many of them are no pushovers.
- [quote]Most atheist states tend to have more radical underground religions feeding on the rebellion to official policy. The notable exception being the USA, which has the lions share of the religious wackos on the planet today.
I heartily agree.
Mitt 'Hand of God' Romney
- The Vatican City
- It's WHICH country, not WHAT country!
ONE more time:
WHICH = Fixed numberof choices ("Which country?")
WHAT = Indeterminate number of choices ("what do you want to do tonight?")
The What/Which Troll
Sao Tome & Principe
Since 2004, BBC Chief Mark Thompson turned the BBC into a mouth piece of the Catholic Church. Giving airtime to those who wanted to murder gays, mocking out celebrities, like Elton John and created a culture in the BBC discouraged the hiring of Gays.
Ben Summerskill and Peter Tachell have spoken out against the homophobia, still rampant at the BBC, several times in the last few years. PinkNews.org even had a story on lingering homophobia at the BBC, 6 days ago.
If you are going to make stuff up, try Conservapedia.com. That is what the site is for.
Even though Mark Thompson is resigning this August, it will take a major effort and a generation for the BBC to undo the damage with the Gay community, if they even try, because who knows, the next Chief may be a rapid Fundamentalist Catholic too. Several anti-gay members of the BBC Trust, still sit on the board...Chris Patten, Dianne Coyle and Rotha Johnson to start with.
There is a reason why Peter Tachell calls it the British Bigotry Corporation.
It amazes me that people you would think are more intelligent than bigotry, like Professor Brian Cox, still promote the BBC.
- Chad, since that country has the gayest name.
- Chad is in central Africa - the worst place on the planet for Gays outside of Islam and the Vatican.
- Polls show most Australians in favour of marriage equality, and there isn't any real organised opposition to it (although I think there will be once the campaign ramps up).
Virtually all public opposition to marriage equality is framed without open bigotry (along the lines of 'you can have all the benefits of marriage, just call it something else') unlike in the US where gay people are openly vilified by elected officials.
Despite our weak-willed Prime Minister, we will certainly have same sex marriage well before the US, to go along with our universal health care, affordable higher education and mandatory retirement ages for our high court judges.
- R80 Then why don't you have gay marriage yet if it's so laid back in Australia Miss High-and-Mighty?
At least in America we've gotten started and have 6 states with gay marriage. How many parts of Australia have gay marriage?
- R62, Chretien did not throw out MPs who voted against gay marriage. They did not vote on it during his tenure, rather decided not to appeal the decision of the Ontario Superior Court. It was passed into law after Paul Martin replaced Chretien. Liberals (though not cabinet members) were allowed to vote against it, and a bunch did. The NDP and The Bloc Quebecois whipped their caucus, and the late NDP leader Jack Layton did turf a member who voted against it.
- An all-party poll of MPs found only 56 per cent believed the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage would succeed, with 41 per cent of Conservatives believing it. Almost as many Tory MPs (37 per cent) believed the proposal will fail and 22 per cent said they were unsure, the survey carried out by ComRes found.
It means that three out of five Tory MPs have doubts that the plan will go ahead. By contrast, more than two thirds of Labour MPs and almost all Liberal Democrat members polled were confident that it would go ahead.
The poll also found that 60 per cent of MPs did not think that the policy was of “significant importance” to their constituents. Among Tory MPs the proportion rose to 69 per cent.
Ministers have repeatedly insisted that there is no question of “watering down” the proposal to allow same-sex couples to be married in civil ceremonies before the next election.
The official consultation paper, launched last month, makes clear that the question is “how” the change could be made, not “whether”.
Critics claim to have detected a softening of the stance taken by some members of the Government and it has already been made clear that Tory MPs will be given a free vote.
The issue has divided Tory MPs and last week David Cameron appeared anxious to shore up relations with religious leaders, insisting that he did not want to “fall out” over the issue. David Burrowes, a Conservative who has been a prominent opponent of the plans, said that the strength of opposition in some quarters appeared to have taken ministers by surprise. “I think this fairly reflects the fact that there is a significant number of Members of Parliament, particularly Conservative Members of Parliament, who are concerned about whether we should legislate on marriage,” he said.
“That is partly a reflection that there is deep concern from the constituencies.”
More than six out of 10 MPs believed that civil partnerships already provide the same legal rights as would be afforded by marriage.
There was a marked party political divide over this question with only 50 per cent of Labour MPs sharing that view, along with 43 per cent of Liberal Democrats.
The research was commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage, an umbrella group of individuals and organisations that support traditional marriage and oppose plans to redefine it. Colin Hart, the group’s campaign director, said: “The results of these polls show that Conservative MPs increasingly think that attempts by the Government to redefine marriage without any electoral mandate are looking uncertain and could well fail.
“Set against the context of growing opposition to the proposals in the country, they suggest that David Cameron is heading for a painful and deeply damaging defeat.”
- Not gonna happen in Australia either. The Labor Party is divided, and liberals are solidly against it too.
- A letter from a Conservative MP to one of his consitutents has leaked, in which he explains why he will vote against plans to allow gay civil marriages in their current proposed form.
In a letter sent to a constituent after they asked him to support the government's plans to introduce same-sex marriage, Karl McCartney said it would have the effect of "uprooting thousands of years of Christian tradition".
"You raised concerns that the law, in its current form, discriminated against those in civil partnerships," he said.
"However in my opinion, the LGBT community have exhausted the cause of equal rights and have now picked on an issue which would possibly only affect a few thousand people every year."
The Lincoln MP said that while he applauded the changes made and achieved by the LGBT community in recent decades he was concerned that further changes would "harm the progress that has largely been made for little real gain".
As first reported by Political Scrapbook, McCartney went on to say that the logical conclusion of gay marriage would be to also allow bigamy and child marriages.
"If you and your likeminded campaigners were of the opinion that all couples should be able to have civil partnerships, then you might have more credence, but you are not," he said.
"Nor are you advocating multi-partnership marriages, not a reduction in the age of permitted marriage. But if one takes your 'arguments' to any conclusion that is where we could end up."
The current minimum age for marriage is 18, or 16 if the couple have their parents consent.
McCartney rejected the request that he canvass other MPs to support gay marriage as his "conscience dictates that I do the opposite".
The government is currently consulting on how to introduce same-sex marriage and the plan has the backing of the leadership of all three main political parties.
However the are several Tory backbenchers who vocally oppose the move and can be expected to vote against any change in the law.
Karl McCartney contacted Huffington Post to say that his comments, while accurately reported, were taken out context. He insists that the full text of the original letter from his constituent to him would provide the full context, but in compliance with privacy and data protection he is unable to release this.
- R86 The UK is a shithole and copies whatever the US does. They've become very homophobic over the last several years, trying to be more like the US, who they idolize so much. If America like something, then the UK likes it. If America doesn't like something, then the UK doesn't like it.
They have no brains of their own.
- [quote]In Canada, when Prime Minister Jean Chretien publicly supported full equal marriage, the majority of Canadians (pressured by a massive national campaign, funded by US Christians) did not support it.
Actually all of the surveys at the time were pretty much split down the middle.
- Brazil - It's already legal on a one by one basis and there's a Brazilian state that already performs same sex marriages. It just has to go to the Supreme Court where all rights for lbgt people and couples have been ruled constitutional.
- r88, never expect any posters on DL to know the most basic things about Canada. It's either idiot Americans who can't tell the difference between Canada and Carmen Miranda, or hyperventilating Dippers who think Harper's going to introduce Gay Auschwitz next week.
- I wish I could say Australia, but I really can't.
- [quote]I wish I could say Australia, but I really can't.
Australia is one of the most homophobic developed country I've ever seen. Worse than the US.
- I don't think Stephen Harper will get Gay Auschwitz going by next week, but it is part of his long term plans....and by the way, Gays were round up and murdered at the regular Auschwitz.
- David Cameron is expected to back down over his plans to legalise gay marriage, after the Conservatives poor turnout in the local elections on Thursday.
Tory backbenchers are said to be angry at the Prime Minister after the party lost 12 councils and 405 seats and want him to return to traditional Tory values.
Mr Cameron is said to be ready to put gay marriage plans on the backburner with support for the Tories declining.
A Downing Street source told the Sunday Times: “Gay marriage is something we genuinely want to do, but because of everything that has happened now is not the time.”
Chancellor George Osborne told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: “I think what people are saying is focus on the things that really matter, focus on the economy and on education and welfare.
“Focus on those things, don't get distracted by too many other issues.
“Parliament can discuss these issues, Parliament is very good at discussing these issues, but it is certainly not my priority, the priority of the Government.
“It is not where the efforts of the Government and the executive are going to be directed.”
- R94 Oh, well. The UK is a rundown shithole now anyway.
- On its way in France, gay marriage was an election promise from Hollande.
- [quote]David Cameron is expected to back down over his plans to legalise gay marriage...
...according to his down low fuckbuddy, George Osborne.
- r93, you sound insane.
- r96, that depends on the left winning Assembly elections in June. That is not guaranteed.
- Philip Hammond's interview in the Sunday Times (£) this morning covers a number of different issues, the most notable of which is that the Defence Secretary comes out against gay marriage and Lords reform taking up time in the legislative timetable. I've pulled out four topics below.
Balancing the MoD's books
Firstly, following the understandable opposition to the prospect of losing some historical regiment names in Scotland (which Hammond responds to: "None of that is remotely true. We hugely value the regimental system, and nobody, as far as I know, is suggesting dismantling it."), Hammond stresses the light at the end of the budgetry tunnel - the MoD's books are nearly balanced. In remarks given fully in a separate Sunday Times story, Hammond says:
"“In the next few days we will be in a position to make the grand announcement that I’ve balanced the books,” Hammond said. “In terms of reducing the size of the civil service, the army and the air force, we shouldn’t have to do any more over and above what we’ve already announced.” ... “For the first time in the defence budget we’ve got a reserve in each year, which means that if something comes up we’ll be able to manage it, drawing on our own reserve rather than having to cancel or postpone equipment,” he said."
Gay marriage and Lords reform
In light of the local election results, Hammond rejects the push for legislation to allow gay marriage or reform of the House of Lords. He tells the Sunday Times that at present, the Lords "works rather well", and that voters are "probably largely indifferent" to any reform. He also fears gay marriage legislation will not be "do-able", or "deliverable". These remarks are notable because Hammond - neither a leadership loyalist, nor a firebrand of the right - is the first Cabinet minister to come out in opposition to the Coalition's marriage plans:
"“We’ve got to be clear that we focus not just on the things that are important, but on the things that are do-able, the things that are deliverable, and the things that chime with ordinary people’s sense of what the priorities are,” he says. He believes gay marriage is too controversial for the government to tackle right now, suggesting it would be “difficult to push through”, “use up a lot of political capital” and “a lot of legislative time as well”."
- So.... no need to bother treating Gay people in England fairly, too much other stuff to do.
How sickeningly British ...........
- Where are progressives and gay rights groups in the UK? Why aren't they clamoring and demanding in the streets and media?
- Nick Clegg has given a firm promise that the Government will bring in a law to allow gay marriage despite a growing campaign to derail it by Conservative MPs. In a warning to opponents, the Deputy Prime Minister said it is a matter of "how, not whether" same-sex marriage is legalised.
A dispute between Liberal Democrat and Tory MPs has broken out after both parties suffered heavy losses in this month's council elections. Tory backbenchers have urged ministers to shelve gay marriage legislation and House of Lords reform, both flagship Liberal Democrat policies, so the Government can focus on bread-and-butter issues, such as the economy, which they claim matter more to voters.
A free vote is expected when it is put to the Commons because it is a conscience issue. Yesterday Owen Paterson, the Northern Ireland Secretary, became the first Cabinet member to declare that he will oppose the move. In a letter to a constituent, Mr Paterson, a Conservative, said: "Having considered this matter carefully, I am afraid I have come to the decision not to support gay marriage." The Coalition for Marriage, which leads the campaign against same-sex marriage, has won the backing of several church leaders and Tory MPs. More than 520,000 people have signed its petition, which supports "the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others".
Mr Clegg, by contrast, has signed a petition organised by the rival Coalition for Equal Marriage, which is lobbying for the change. He told the group: "The Coalition Government, the Liberal Democrats and I remain wholeheartedly committed to lifting the ban on equal civil marriage. We are currently consulting on how, not whether, to introduce proposals for equal marriage and I want to encourage everyone to make sure that their voices are heard during this time. Many other countries have taken this progressive step and I think it's about time Britain joined them."
The Liberal Democrats do not suspect that David Cameron is backsliding on his pledge to bring in a gay marriage law, because he has made a strong personal commitment to it.But they are worried that some Tory ministers may try to reopen the issue under pressure from the party's MPs.
"The idea that this was an issue on the doorstep in the local elections is nonsense," said one Liberal Democrat source. But Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said after the elections: "Clearly it's not the number one priority." He suggested the Government would take a final decision after the Home Office consultation exercise now underway.
Conor Marron, co-founder of the Coalition for Equal Marriage said: "We're very happy to have Nick [Clegg] standing with us on this issue, along with the majority of MPs who have voiced their position on the subject. We welcome Nick's reassertion that this consultation is on how to introduce civil marriage equality, not if."
Adam Smith, the constituent in North Shropshire who wrote to Mr Paterson, said: "It is bizarre that a Cabinet minister can both praise his Government's progress on LGBT equality in the same letter that he tells me he won't support my right to marriage equality."
Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said the Tory ministers trying to stop same-sex marriage revealed the deep hostility to equality that remains in their party. "Legislation on equal marriage doesn't prevent Government prioritising jobs, growth or family finances – it is the Coalition economic policy which is preventing that."
Beecroft dismisses cable as a 'socialist'
A controversial Downing Street adviser has accused Business Secretary Vince Cable of being a socialist who "appears to do very little to support business".
Venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft, who wrote a report for No 10 calling for proposals making it easier to fire workers, said his objections to his plans were "ideological not economic". "I think he is a socialist who found a home in the Lib Dems, so he's one of the left," he told The Daily Telegraph. "I think people find it very odd that he's in charge of business and yet appears to do very little to support business."
He also attacked Nick Clegg for "always threatening to go nuclear" when he does not get his way. Mr Clegg said of plans to allow bosses to fire at will: "I have not seen any evidence that creating industrial-level insecurity for workers is a good way of creating new jobs."
- avid Cameron is set to avoid a Commons showdown with rebellious Conservative MPs by offering a free vote on the Government's plans to legalise gay marriage.
The Prime Minister is facing fierce opposition to the move from some on his own benches, including ministers.
Mr Cameron is personally supportive of the reform and Downing Street stressed again this week the Government's determination to get it onto the statute book before the end of the parliament. But it is understood Mr Cameron will allow MPs to vote according to their conscience rather than whipping them.
Any such scenario is unlikely to arise in the next year as there was no Bill for the reform of civil marriage in the Queen's Speech. The issue is currently being consulted on.
This week a Conservative Cabinet minister declared his opposition to same-sex marriage in the most high-level challenge to Mr Cameron so far on the issue. Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson made clear his hostility to the change in a letter to a constituent.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said recently that it was "not a priority" for the Government after the Liberal Democrat policy was blamed by some for poor local election results. Defence minister Gerald Howarth is also opposed to same-sex marriage.
Tory critics of the plan see it, like House of Lords reform, as a Liberal Democrat policy that is a distraction from the bigger challenges facing the Government.
Desmond Swayne, Mr Cameron's parliamentary private secretary, has recorded a video message for the cross-party Out4Marriage campaign backing the plans.
He said: "I'm married, I enjoy being married, it's a huge blessing, and therefore I want that blessing to be extended to everyone. I've come at this issue of equal marriage principally because I am a Christian. I believe that the promises of the Gospel are unconfined: they're for everyone, and the sacraments that follow from that should be available to everyone. That's why I'm Out4Marriage."
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We have yet to introduce a Bill. We are halfway through the consultation. I think it is premature to start talking about whipping."
- If the free vote passes, Cameron not only will get a bump in the polls, but he will have put a nail in the coffin of the careers of those politicians who voted against the Gay community.
After full equality passes, it is time to take the gloves off with Germany, who looks worse than any other Western power today, regarding its failure on full Gay equality. The country that forced gays to wear pink triangles on the way to death camps is still treating them as second class citizens.
- [quote]I can't understand what's taking so fucking long in the UK. They're almost as bad as the US. But then again, they always do try to copy Americans.
How are they "almost as bad as the US" when they have civil partnerships, which confer basically the same rights as marriage? Compare that to the rampant homophobia in the US, recently highlighted by the vote in North Carolina.
Also, in reality, the vast majority of people in the UK would be fine with gay marriage; the Conservative politicians are ridiculously out of touch on this issue (as with so many things), presumably because the anti-gay marriage idiots make such a nuisance of themselves. If the gay community wanted to organise and make a fuss of their own, they'd get a huge amount of public support very quickly. But presumably most of them are content with civil partnerships.
All that said, I expect Labour will get in at the next election, and gay marriage will be brought in then, if not before.
[quote]The UK is a shithole and copies whatever the US does. They've become very homophobic over the last several years, trying to be more like the US, who they idolize so much. If America like something, then the UK likes it. If America doesn't like something, then the UK doesn't like it.
What complete and utter bullshit. You've obviously never even stepped foot in the UK.
- Downing Street has bowed to ministerial opposition to its plans to legalise gay marriage by giving all MPs a free vote.
No 10 had planned on forcing the Liberal Democrat-backed change through parliament, but growing warnings of rebellion from increasingly senior figures prompted a retreat. MPs will now be able to vote according to their conscience rather than told how to vote by party managers.
After Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson made clear he would not support gay marriage - adding his dissent to indications of opposition from defence secretary Philip Hammond and children's minister Tim Loughton - Downing Street accepted the free vote would apply to members of the government as well as backbench MPs.
Tory backbenchers had warned of "serious divisions" if the whips sought to force them to back the measure.
It was identified alongside Lords reform as a policy area which the government was wrong to prioritise after the Conservatives suffered their worst local election results in 15 years.
Now the chances of civil partnerships being replaced by a form of gay marriage placed on an equal footing with heterosexual marriages are being viewed as significantly reduced.
A free vote will reveal Tory faultlines on the issue but would be unlikely to result in defeat for the move, as Lib Dem MPs and most opposition MPs could be expected to back gay marriage.
Securing parliamentary time for the legislation establishing gay marriage seems less certain, however. A bill was not included in this year's Queen's Speech, meaning it would have to compete with other divisive measures as the coalition enters its final two years.
- When is the Danish parliament gonna vote on marriage equality?
- I know this is the Daily Mirror, but UK gays really are rather passive and unambitious.
Most homosexuals indifferent to David Cameron's drive for gay marriage: Only a quarter would wed if law changes, reveals poll
By Gerri Peev
PUBLISHED: 18:07 EST, 7 June 2012 | UPDATED: 18:16 EST, 7 June 2012
A survey has revealed the right to marry is not a high priority to the majority of gay couples
A survey has revealed the right to marry is not a high priority to the majority of gay couples
Homosexuals are indifferent to David Cameron’s campaign for gay marriage, with fewer than four in ten believing that it is a priority for their community.
And there is deep scepticism about the Prime Minister’s motives in trying to extend marriage to same-sex couples, with half believing he is doing it only to ‘make his party look more compassionate rather than because of his convictions’.
The overwhelming apathy about gay marriage was revealed in the first online poll of gay, lesbian and bisexual people on the issue.
Just over a quarter – 27 per cent – said they would get married if the law permitted it, just one percentage point more than the number who said they would take up civil partnerships, which were introduced by the Labour government.
The findings, from an online ComRes poll of 541 adults who describe themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, are a blow for the Prime Minister, who is championing gay marriage.
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The poll found that fewer than half believe the argument of gay rights campaign group Stonewall that a legal distinction between civil partnerships and same sex marriage perpetuates discrimination.
More than a quarter – 26 per cent – believe there is no need to change the law on marriage because civil partnerships give couples the same rights.
Some 72 per cent believe that ‘marriage is more about love between two people than it is about rearing children’.
The findings mirror the remarks made by former Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, who said gay marriage was not a priority for most people.
Mr Bradshaw, who is in a civil partnership, said Mr Cameron was playing ‘pure politics’ over the issue as he was ‘trying to drag the Conservatives kicking and screaming into the modern world’.
Dr Austen Ivereigh, director of media advocacy group Catholic Voices, which commissioned the poll, said: ‘We asked ComRes to carry out this important survey because we knew many gay people were unhappy with the Government’s plan to redefine marriage.
‘What it shows is that for gay people this is very far from being an important issue of human rights, equality and discrimination.
‘Gay people do not regard same-sex marriage as a priority, and show no more enthusiasm for it than for civil partnerships, which give the same legal advantages.’
Pressing priorities: Many within his own party believe PM David Cameron would be better to spend all his time sorting out the economy due to euro crisis
Pressing priorities: Many within his own party believe PM David Cameron would be better to spend all his time sorting out the economy due to euro crisis
He said the figures showed how few people would take advantage of the law if it were redefined.
‘Not only have the Government no mandate for this unpopular move, but there seems little enthusiasm from those it is intended to benefit. The numbers cannot lie.
‘This is a purely political gesture, with no popular backing, yet which will have far-reaching consequences for the status of marriage in law.’
Colin Hart of the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), which represents MPs, campaigners and faith groups, said: ‘This poll confirms yet again that only a handful of people are pushing the Government to redefine marriage.
‘Even within the gay community, there is no majority who thinks that this is a priority.
‘The gay community’s scepticism about the PM’s motives echoes the views in the wider population.
Ben Bradshaw was absolutely right when he described these plans as “pure politics”.
‘The Government should ditch these proposals, which are profoundly undemocratic and have never been put before the British public.’
More than 543,000 people have signed C4M’s petition which opposes any redefinition of marriage.
The Government has launched a consultation on gay marriage.
Conservative MPs have been promised a free vote on the issue, although their coalition partners the Lib Dems have been told by Nick Clegg they must vote in favour.
- UK gays need to wake up!
Reality check badge
Are gay people really anti-gay marriage?
The coalition government has been coming under fire from rightwing Conservative backbenchers for its pledge to introduce equal marriage for same-sex couples. So new research commissioned by Catholic Voices suggesting LGBT people are indifferent to the coalition's proposals seems set to add fuel to the fire.
Here's how the Daily Mail have reported the findings:
The overwhelming apathy about gay marriage was revealed in the first online poll of gay, lesbian and bisexual people on the issue.
Just over a quarter – 27 per cent – said they would get married if the law permitted it, just one percentage point more than the number who said they would take up civil partnerships, which were introduced by the Labour government.
The findings, from an online ComRes poll of 541 adults who describe themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, are a blow for the Prime Minister, who is championing gay marriage.
The Daily Telegraph also has a write-up here.
Could such counter-intuitive findings really be true? Taking a look at the full research tables behind the reporting (PDF) is instructive.
The first point – that only 27% of gay people would marry if given the chance, used for the Daily Mail headline – comes from a question on page three of the survey.
The question in full: "I would get married to my partner if the law permitted it", to which 27% of respondents agreed (20% said "don't know"). The key omitted words here, of course, are "to my partner". It's a very different thing to say you want to marry your current partner, to saying you'd quite like the opportunity to marry at some stage.
That, of course, is an issue with the Daily Mail writeup and not the research. Other findings in the Mail and Telegraph reports appear to support the research more thoroughly. Both said fewer than four in ten people regarded gay marriage as a priority.
The question, however, asked the sample whether gay marriage was "a priority for the gay community", rather than a priority for them personally – leading around a third of respondents to reply "don't know".
Another question did ask respondents to agree if it was "important to me" that marriage was extended to same-sex couples – to which half agreed. Perhaps, as the papers reported, this is indeed a surprisingly low figure.
Of course, in a 20-page survey you can pick what you choose: 47% of respondents said keeping marriage and civil partnerships separate worsened attitudes to gay people (32% disagreed). 77% rejected supporting marriage as an institution only between a man and a woman.
And almost half agreed – only 19% disagreed – with the arguably loaded statement that: "David Cameron is only trying to extend marriage to LGBT people to make his party look more compassionate rather than because of his convictions."
More telling than how the survey is reported is whether the actual research is itself useful. Most national opinion surveys use a sample of at least 1,000 people, which generates a margin of error of about plus or minus 3% – that is to say if an opinion poll places a party's support at 40%, that means the real figure whould be between 37% and 43%.
The Catholic Voice poll, conducted by professional pollster ComRes, had a sample of 541. As Catholic Voice themselves note, this gives it a larger margin of error – in this case, a little under 4.5%. This can make quite a difference. If a report shows 40% of people agree with a statement, and 30% disagree, this seems to be a ten-point gap. With a 4.5% margin of error, this gap can actually be anything from 1% to 19%.
There are some issues around the compositition of the sample. The 541 people surveyed includes just 55 who self-identify as lesbians (the whole sample is around 60% male). This is smaller than the group which identifies as "other" – 61 individuals. "Other" could include transgender people, those who are asexual, or any number of other self-defined sexualities. Neither we, nor the researchers, know.
Roughly equal numbers of gay
- When France passes gay marriage (pending on the Legislative elections results), THEN the British will want and demand gay marriage.
You see, whatever the French have, the British want, and vice versa.
- France is not guaranteed to do it either. Depends on Parliamentary elections. There were massive prospects when PACS was being considered a decade ago.
- It doesn't necessarily matter if it isn't high on the agenda of most gay couples.
The fact is it's discrimination. CP's in the UK may feel like the same thing as marriage for gay couples, but that marriage is only for heterosexuals sends out a clear message. CP's were a big step forward, but it seems outrageous that in the 21st century it should seem a step forward.
- True, but it still looks bad when the momentum is toward the anti-gay side. It is just one more strike against same-sex marriage.
- Why is New Zealand's government so much more pro-gay than Australia's government?
- THE chairman of an Australian parliamentary committee that examined gay law reform said yesterday that he believes lawmakers will maintain a ban on same-sex marriage when the contentious issue is voted on later this year.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs received an unprecedented number of responses on the question - more than 276,000 - and 64 percent of them were in favor of allowing gay marriage. But the committee's eight members were divided and made no recommendation in their report published yesterday.
Committee chairman Graham Perrett, who has two gay brothers and supports gay marriage, said he does not believe a majority of lawmakers share his views.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an opponent of gay marriage, will allow members of her center-left Labor Party to make personal choices on how they vote on the legislation. But opposition leader Tony Abbott, a staunch Roman Catholic, will insist that members of his conservative Liberal Party reject gay marriage.
Perrett, a Labor lawmaker, said he believes lawmakers would reject gay marriage even if Abbott allowed members of his party a free vote. "My reading of it is that would not be the case" that gay marriage would be allowed, he told reporters.
Perrett noted that the captain of Australia's rugby team, David Pocock, supported gay marriage. "You know when a rugby player is more progressive than many of the parliamentarians, even within the Labor Party, you know that Australia has changed significantly."
Greens lawmaker Adam Brandt, who has introduced one of the two gay marriage bills, said yesterday that he will not allow his bill to be voted on unless Abbott allows his party members to vote according to their consciences.
Brandt said he was more optimistic than Perrett that the legislation would pass.
Labor lawmaker Stephen Jones said he expected his own gay marriage bill will be voted on this year. "We're short of a majority at this point and a lot of that is contingent on whether the Liberals are given a free vote," Jones said.
Australian law was amended in 2004 with the unanimous support of Labor and the conservatives to make clear that only a union between a man and a woman can be legally recognized as a marriage.
TIERRA DEL FUEGO (IT IS A COUNTRY, RIGHT?)
- I think it would be even more wonderful if even one quarter of you posting on this thread actually HAD someone that was interested enough in you to ACTUALLY want to marry you.......pretty much.
- Ayesha Vardag, who represented German heiress Katrin Radmacher in her multi-million pound divorce, said gay couples should have been awarded a "state marriage" to recognise the equivalence of civil partnerships without having to involve the Church.
She said: "In a democratic society, the separation of Church and State is of fundamental importance: freedom of religion means the Church should not be obliged to recognise gay marriage; democracy means that if the public want gay marriage legitimised then it is the responsibility of the State to effect that.
"Since couples can have a perfectly valid legal marriage without any religious involvement at all there should be no conflict between these two imperatives."
She criticised the Labour government that introduced civil partnerships for creating a "second tier" of union for gay couples.
"This whole mess has arisen because of the half-baked effort the Government produced in the form of the Civil Partnership Act. Civil partnership is almost identical in law to marriage, and is treated by the Courts in the same way, as the recent case of Lawrence vs. Gallagher confirms," she said. "However setting up a distinction, albeit in name only, has caused confusion in the public generally and resentment among gay couples who feel they are being put on a sort of "second tier" civil partnership track subordinate to their married heterosexual counterparts.
"We now have heterosexual couples saying they like the look of civil partnership for themselves and gay couple wanting marriage, when in reality they are the same thing."
"The government needs to sweep away the anomaly, legitimise gay marriage in state ceremonies and leave religions to make their own mind about which way they want to jump on the issue."
Her comments were made after Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke out against the debate over same-sex marriage after a gay Conservative MP said he had never felt "more distant" from the Church over the issue.
Writing in the Times, Lord Carey said it was supporters of "traditional marriage" who faced judgmental labels.
He said the consultation over allowing same-sex marriages was launched with "no backing" from the Conservative Party's manifesto and said many felt "alienated and distant" from the Government as a result
- roger clemens only got off because he was white. If it had been a black guy they'd have found him guilty
- U-R-Gay it's capital is Mountain Video and it's next to Brazil, Argentina and Pair-Of_Gays
- Australia may fast track the vote to August to get it out of the way. It is still expected to be defeated.
- I think that now that the PS has won a majority in the Legislative Elections in France, it's a real possibility that gay marriage will become a reality there.
- The Australian PM is a well known anti-gay leader. She is very vocal about it.
- It won't be U.S. that's for sure if Romney get's power.
- Iran is coming around, no?
- Not a country, but what's the likelihood that Maryland's gay marriage law gets overturned in a referendum? The blacks there are very anti-gay.
- Not the UK or Australia.
- "Australia is one of the most homophobic developed country I've ever seen. Worse than the US."
How so? What are these dozens of developed countries which are so much better?
For all Australia's faults it does have:
- Civil unions in 4 of its 8 states and teriitories.
- same sex relationships have most of the same rights as defacto hetero relationships
- In some states same sex parents are legally the parents for in vitro cases.
- Anti-homophobic hate crime legislation exists
- See wikipedia link below for more details
Recent surveys show that over 60% of the population favour same sex marriage.
Of course some Australians are homophobic, but not sure why you're pointing to Australia as being the worst.
Little anecdote: I come from a redneck country town. A couple of years ago an openly gay guy was the school captain at my old high school. If an out gay kid can be voted school captain in such a red necked atmosphere, then all is not lost. Quite the contrary.
- Almost six out of 10 people who attend services regularly say they are less likely to vote Conservative at the next election because of the plans to redefine marriage.
More than a third of those polled said it had no effect on whether they would support the Conservatives but most of them would never vote for the party anyway.
Support among churchgoers for Labour and the Liberal Democrats was also damaged by their stance on the marriage question but the biggest impact by far was on the Conservatives.
It suggests that the issue has caused a major breach between the party and religious voters, who have traditionally been viewed as part of its heartland.
Historically, the Church of England has been characterised as the “Tory party at prayer”. But parties have been competing for support among religious groups, with estimates suggesting that as many as 7.6 million adults attend church at least once a month and almost five million go every Sunday. At the last election Mr Cameron recorded a personal video appeal to Christian voters.
In power, the Coalition has been keen to burnish its religious credentials, recently dispatching a team of ministers and officials led by Baroness Warsi to the Vatican issuing a strong a denunciation of “militant secularism”.
But at a reception for Church leaders at Easter Mr Cameron stressed he did not want to “fall out” with them over gay marriage.
A consultation on plans to legalise civil weddings for homosexual couples was carried out earlier this year, attracting about 100,000 submissions from the public, the biggest for any Government listening exercise.
The poll for the Coalition For Marriage (C4M) found that 86 per cent of churchgoers believe attempts to exempt Churches from carrying out same-sex marriages could not be relied upon.
The ComRes poll, which questioned people who attend church once a month or more, found 58 per cent said they were less likely to vote Conservative as a result of the policy, with only two per cent more likely.
Just over one in 10 said it made no difference because they would still vote Tory but a further 25 per cent said it would have no effect because they would not support the party anyway. Forty-three per cent said they were put off supporting the Lib Dems and 27 per cent were deterred from voting for Labour, which supports the change.
When broken down by denomination, 68 per cent of Roman Catholics polled, 47 per cent of Anglicans and 72 per cent of Pentecostals, said they were less likely to support the party.
Gary Streeter, the Tory MP for Devon South West and a committed Christian, said: “Whatever the merits or demerits of the policy it is not smart politics.”
Colin Hart, the C4M campaign director, said: “This is yet another blow for these ill thought-out and undemocratic proposals
- New Zealand has recently had the marriage ammendment act drawn out and the majority of MPs have indicated they will vote yes on its first reading.
- Big surprise is that it might be Vietnam.
- Vietnam is just all talk. Like Nepal. The proposed legislation is frozen, not advancing toward passage.
- Ironic that the world 2 female leaders are anti-gay equality.
(Germany's Angela Merkel and Australia's Julia Gillard).
So much for females being more pro-gay.
- there are a lot anti-gay women everywhere.
NZ MPs undecided as gay vote nears
by: Laura McQuillan
August 28, 2012 8:36AM
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A DAY before the first vote on New Zealand legislation to legalise gay marriage, it is still unclear how much support the bill will receive, with many MPs saying they are still "undecided".
Louisa Wall's private member's bill has its first reading in parliament on Wednesday.
She believes the numbers are "pretty solid" for the bill to pass, with at least 61 votes needed in the 121-seat parliament.
Ms Wall says about 16 of Labour's 34 MPs have pledged their support for the bill.
"A few of the undecideds will hopefully join our team," she said.
Prime Minister John Key is supporting the bill, but he will be among the minority of National Party MPs doing so.
"My guess is the majority won't back it but there'll be a slightly larger [group] that are likely to vote for it than you might otherwise think - it might be in the order of 12, 13 people," he said.He is confident the bill will pass its first reading, but the votes could change as the legislation progresses.
Labour's Clayton Cosgrove is one MP who is still undecided, telling media on Tuesday morning he is "still consulting people".
Mr Cosgrove is among MPs who voted against civil unions legislation in 2004. However, other MPs - like Mr Key - have switched sides since then.
Anti-gay marriage lobby group Family First plan to present a 50,000-signature petition against the bill on Tuesday.
- MPs predict legislation to legalise same sex marriage will pass its first reading with a comfortable majority when it comes before Parliament on Wednesday.
The member's bill is in the name of Louisa Wall (Labour), but she will not get support from all the Labour caucus.
Su'a William Sio has already said he won't vote for the bill and list MP Damien O'Connor says he too will oppose it.
Radio New Zealand's Parliamentary chief reporter says several National Members voiced their support for the bill on their way to their weekly caucus meeting.
There will be a conscience vote on the bill, which means MPs are not bound to vote along party lines.
- How a bill becomes law
A bill passes through several stages before it can become an Act of Parliament. These are explained and summarised in a flow chart below. In the case of Government bills, the Government decides how to prioritise them and regularly revises its priorities. All other bills follow a formula prescribed in the Standing Orders (procedural rules) of the House of Representatives. This ensures they cannot be unreasonably prevented from making progress if they have the support of a majority of other members once they are before the House.
A bill has no formal existence until it is introduced into the House. There is no debate at this stage but the bill is now publicly available. The bill must have an explanatory note that sets out the policy it seeks to achieve. Once introduced, it is a formal legislative proposal that may or may not progress, depending on its level of support in the House.
The next stage is the first reading. The term ‘reading’ dates back to the days in Britain when bills were literally read out to the House. It has never been the practice in New Zealand. Only the title is read aloud.
The first reading cannot occur for at least one to three sitting days after introduction. This ensures members have had time to consider the bill’s implications. It also leaves time for the Attorney-General to examine the bill for apparent inconsistencies with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 so that the House can be informed of this before the next stage. This is a requirement under section 7 of that Act.
The first reading is the first opportunity for the House to debate the bill and consider if it merits further consideration. The member in charge of the bill leads off the debate, which is limited to two hours for Government bills and just over an hour for other bills. At the end of the debate the House decides if the bill should be ‘read a first time’. If it is defeated in this vote, that is the end of the bill. If the first reading is agreed, the bill is referred to a select committee.
Once a bill has been referred to a select committee, the committee has six months to report to the House, unless the House specifies a different date. Reporting dates may be extended if it turns out more time is needed for the committee to consider the bill.
A committee normally calls for public submissions, hears evidence on those submissions, and recommends amendments to the House. The committee’s report consists of the bill reprinted with the recommended amendments shown and a ‘commentary’, which is the committee’s narrative explanation of its recommendations and the issues it considered.
Once the committee has presented its report, the bill is available for second reading any time from the third sitting day after presentation (see Parliament Brief, ‘Select Committees’).
This is the main debate on the principles of the bill. If it passes a second reading, this can be viewed as a commitment to the final passage of the bill, subject to any further amendments. This stage is a debate of up to two hours led off by the member in charge of the bill. At the end of the debate any select committee amendments that did not have the unanimous support of the committee are the subject of a single decision on whether they should be adopted. All unanimous committee amendments are considered subsumed into the bill if the second reading is agreed. The bill can also be defeated at this stage.
Committee of the whole House
The House forms itself into a committee, to which all members belong, for the bill’s next stage. The Speaker does not preside over the committee. The committee has the delegated authority from the House to consider the bill in detail and make further amendments members may propose in writing. Sometimes members, particularly Ministers in charge of a bill, release their amendments in advance in the form of a ‘supplementary order paper’. If these have significant policy implications, they can be considered by a select committee to ensure the changes have adequate scrutiny. Otherwise the use of this mechanism to introduce major policy changes may be viewed as a device to avoid such scrutiny.
There is no specific time limit on this stage and members have opportunities for five-minute speeches on each provision. On large bills of a controversial nature, this process can take place over several days.
At this stage some bills, for instance, a Statutes Amendment Bill, can be divided into several smaller bills with new names, depending on the principal Acts they amend.
Once the final form of the bill has been agreed, it returns to the House and is reprinted to show any new amendments that were made.
This is the final stage in the House. It is the last opportunity to debate and decide whether the bill should be passed in the form in which it has emerged from the committee of the whole House. It is a debate more for summing up than on the provisions in detail. The debate can last up to two hours.
Once a bill’s third reading has been agreed, it has been ‘passed’ by the House but it has one further step before it becomes law.
The last step illustrates the difference between the House of Representatives and Parliament (see Parliament Brief, ‘What is Parliament?’). This is that the Sovereign (The Queen, represented in New Zealand by the Governor-General) forms part of Parliament but is completely separate from the House. It is the Sovereign’s role to sign a bill into law by giving it the ‘Royal assent’. Assent is given on the advice of the Prime Minister or the most senior Minister available.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault confirmed in an address to Socialist Party members Saturday that lawmakers plan to introduce national legislation in October that would allow same-sex couples to tie the knot.
- WELLINGTON, New Zealand—Spurred by President Barack Obama's public support of same-sex marriage, New Zealand lawmakers were expected Wednesday to cast a first vote in favor of a gay marriage law.
The vote is the first of three Parliament must take before the bill can become law, a process that typically takes several months. Both supporters and opponents agreed the measure likely had enough support to pass Wednesday's initial vote.
Should New Zealand ultimately pass the measure into law, it would become the 12th country since 2001 to recognize same-sex marriage. Some states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.
Recent polls indicate about two-thirds of New Zealanders support gay marriage. It also has the support of most of the country's political leaders, although a number of lawmakers have said they'll vote against it.
New Zealand already has in place same-sex civil union laws that confer many legal rights to gay couples, although activists argue they don't give them the same social status. One important change under the proposed legislation, however, is that same-sex married couples could jointly adopt a child, something they can't do under current laws.
The proposed changes here can be directly traced back to Obama's May declaration in support of gay marriage. That prompted center-right Prime Minister John Key to break h
- Bolivia Senator Hilda Saavedra earlier this week introduced a bill which would legalize civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples in the South American country.
Saavedra, a member of the ruling Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) Party, said her proposal aims to aid victims of “contempt, abuse and exclusion even by the family.” She said her bill seeks to uphold the spirit of the Bolivia Constitution.
“There are many people who have not disclosed their sexual orientation because they fear the discrimination that exists in our country by some conservatives who do not want to recognize the rights of this population so important in Bolivia,” said Saavedra.
Three years ago, Bolivians approved a new constitution which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while defining marriage as a heterosexual union. It also outlined broad new rights for indigenous Bolivians.
David Aruquipa, the leader of LGBT en Bolivia, said he was encouraged that a MAS senator was backing the measure, noting that the party has previously rejected their overtures.
Bolivian neighbor Argentina was the first South American nation to legalize gay marriage. Its other four neighbors – Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Brazil – have also considered giving legal recognition to the relationships of gay couples
- Fuck you, R143!
- The Scottish Parliament has agreed to bring in a bill which will allow same sex marriage through both civil and religious ceremonies. This should come into being by 2015. It may see Scotland as the first part of the UK to allow full mrriage as opposed to civil partnerships.
- Following the Cabinet reshuffle this week, Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone (pictured) will move from her role in the Equalities Office to a position in the Department of International Development. Featherstone has been at the forefront of the coalition’s move towards equal marriage and her departure raises questions as to the future of the campaign.
Tory MP Maria Miller has been announced as the new Culture Secretary and will take on the equalities brief, despite having voted against gay marriage and having been absent from or voted against all major LGBT rights votes since she came into office in 2005.
The reshuffle has already been criticised for its reduction in the number of women in the cabinet. In response to Chris Grayling's promotion to Justice Secretary, feminist website The F Word tweeted: “a homophobe in charge of justice… #keepshuffling”.
Derek McAuley, Chief Office of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, commented that, at a crucial time for the coalition’s marriage proposal, “this change will (...) bring uncertainty”.
He added: “Lynne Featherstone has driven forward the Coalition’s policy on equal marriage and it is to be congratulated. I wish her well in her new post”.
Featherstone was chiefly responsible for overseeing the coalition’s pledge to introduce same-sex marriage by 2015 and, earlier this year, was the first politician to take part in the Out4Marriage campaign. In an article for The Telegraph, Featherstone wrote, “Some people believe the Government has no right to change [marriage] at all; they want to leave tradition alone. I want to challenge that view – it is the Government’s fundamental job to reflect society and to shape the future, not stay silent where it has the power to act and change things for the better.”
- Actually r136 and r137, while there are most definitely anti-gay women in this world, Gillard and Merkel are not representative of the whole.
Women are more likely than men to lean left and more likely than men to support gay marriage.
- So you're point being woman are more gay friendly unless they are in positions of leadership, then they turn anti-gay? AKA keep women out of leadership?
- Merkel not so much anti-gay, she has an openly gay foreign minister
- There are some very virulent anti-gay elements in the ruling German Christian Democratic Party.
- New Zealand for sure - the first stage of the Marriage Equality Bill just went through with 80 votes for and 40 against. It's a dead cert.
I thought it was well-known by this point that when women try to gain positions of power they tend to gravitate toward and adopt cultural mores and behaviours that are socially viewed as more male or masculine. You even see it in the physical characteristics they adopt, like in the 80's when women were entering the corporate world and tended to wear clothing with shoulder pads to project a more masculine physical presence. This is because it is the only way they thought they would be able to play in that world (at least at the time)
And when it comes to social views and behaviours, society is much harsher and much more fearful of the women who are liberal and don't follow traditionalist thinking.
A woman with liberal or left-leaning ideologies is seen as much more dangerous by society than women with conservative or right-leaning ideologies. For reasons that are obvious. That is why it is rare for you to see a female politician obtain a very high position of power unless she is conservative.
This will change as society changes.
So more women than men hold pro-gay and liberal views, but more men than women holding governing and legislating power. You idiotically suggest keeping women out of positions of power yet there are more men in the world pushing anti-gay legistlation by sheer virtue of the volume of men in government. Yet I don't come to the conclusion that we should keep men out of leadership. What is wrong with you?
- France. First trimester of 2013.
- Will the UK beat France to full equal rights?
Will Angela Merkel continue to attract self hating homos willing to work under her even thought she supports laws defining them as second class German citizens.
Will Canada's anti-gay PM, Stephen Harpers, Conservative party vote again, at their convention in 2013, that Gay Canadians should not have full equal rights?
- The USA.
- Im thinking France, the New Zealand process takes up to a year to pass.
- The UK.
- Colombia cannot have true same-sex marriage because the new constitution bans it outright, but civil unions are possible.
- Not the UK. the opposition has been vociferous, strong, vocal, resolute, and united. In contrast, the progay side is feeble, disorganized, and has barely made a peep while the opposition has sought to torpedo gay marriage chances. The progay side doesnt seem very motivated.
- The UK, because the Conservatives are looking for a distraction issue from the bad economy... and it was the Conservative PM who supported it.
- FRANCE, and they have even said so: it will be debated in around October and become practice in the first half of 2013. This will be of huge significance as France will be the first major, major country to have same-sex marriage, a permanent member of the UN security council, and this will hopefully have huge ramifications.
And this will be about the only thing that new Socialist government will get right.
R160, don't you think the Olympics/Paralympics are a bigger distraction? Or Heathrow? Your reasoning is silly.
- France, then New Zealand, then Germany.
The German Social Democrats & the Green Party want it, and they stand a good chance of winning next year.
Even some Conservatives have proposed introducing gay marriage now, but there remains a strong element in the party opposed to it, especially re adoption rights.
After Germany, possibly the US.
Finland will eventually join the rest of Scandinavia.
The UK and Australia are stuck at the lowest rung of the ladder. Shame on them.
- Nick Clegg has become embroiled in a row over gay marriage after aides had to remove comments in the draft version of a speech calling opponents "bigots".
The deputy PM was expected to launch an attack on those against the policy - which include some Tory MPs - in a speech at a reception in London.
But the wording of initial extracts released to the media was changed.
Mr Clegg later insisted he never intended to use such language as it was "not the kind of word" he would use.
Sources close to Mr Clegg said the "bigot" claim was "a mistake" in an early draft of the speech which should not have been released to the press.
But Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said the remarks were "very offensive".
"If he persists in taking that view I and others would be very offended, he said.
"To be called a bigot is a very offensive statement and I would ask him to recall it...because there are issues here that demand very serious debate."
Extracts released early by officials said: "Continued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we 'postpone' the equalities agenda in order to deal with 'the things people really care about'."
Continue reading the main story
Nick Clegg has got to explain himself and apologise very rapidly”
Peter Bone Conservative MP
Q&A: Gay marriage
Within an hour aides had corrected the text, which said: "Continued trouble in the economy leads some people to demand we 'postpone' the equalities agenda in order to deal with 'the things people really care about'."
A spokesman for the deputy PM said: "This was not something the deputy prime minister has said. It is not something he was ever going to say, because it is not something that he believes.
"It was removed from the draft copy, that should never have been sent out, for that very reason."
Mr Clegg later addressed the issue at the event in central London, attended by celebrity campaigners and religious figures who back legalising gay marriage.
"I am a little bit surprised to see cameras assembled outside the gates, for the slightly obscure, surprising reason that they expect me to use a word about opponents of gay marriage that I had no intention of using, would never use," he said.
"It is not the kind of word that I would use."
While he "stridently disagreed" with those opposing the legalisation of gay marriage, Mr Clegg said he would "never seek to engage in debate in insulting terms".
The BBC's chief political correspondent Norman Smith said the incident was likely to "incense" many Conservative MPs.
'Not fit and proper'
Conservative MP Peter Bone - who has repeatedly called for the coalition to be broken up - said if Mr Clegg believed what was said in the original draft of the speech, he was not a "fit and proper person to be deputy prime minister".
"Nick Clegg has got to explain himself and apologise very rapidly," he told the BBC News Channel.
Continue reading the main story
It is pretty clear that some people oppose marriage rights for gay people because of deep-seated homophobic bigotry”
Peter Tatchell Gay rights campaigner
"This is not the way the deputy prime minister behaves."
The campaign group Coalition for Marriage, which opposes any change to the law, described the remarks as "intolerant".
"It also shows his contempt for the millions of ordinary men and women in this country who oppose the politically correct drive to rip up the centuries old definition of marriage," its campaign director Colin Hart said.
But gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said Mr Clegg "should not be afraid" to raise the issue of prejudice within the context of the debate on gay marriage.
"It is pretty clear that some people oppose marriage rights for gay people because of deep-seated homophobic bigotry," he said.
Since 2005, same-sex couples have been able to enter into civil partnerships, which confer broadly similar rights and responsibilities to married couples.
However, at the moment, only a man and a woman can be legally married.
The UK government has completed a consultation on proposals that could see gay marriage being legalised in England and Wales and enable existing civil partners to "convert" into a civil marriage.
Under the proposals, religious organisations would not be obliged to conduct same-sex marriages in their places of worship and there would be no change to how religious marriages are solemnized.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband are all in favour of the change but the Church of England and other religious organisations have expressed serious concerns about its impact on the institution of marriage and the role of the Church in society.
The Scottish government has said it will seek to legislate to introduce gay marriage by 2015, which has sparked a fierce row with the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.
- By Patrick Hennessey, Telegraph
David Cameron has been given a clear demand from the Conservative Party’s grass roots to drop his controversial plans to legalise same-sex marriage in an eve-of-conference poll.
The survey of Tory constituency chairmen, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, finds that 71 per cent think the proposal – which the Prime Minister has pledged will be law by 2015 – should be abandoned.
Nearly half the chairmen claim their local parties have lost members as a result of the plans, while only three per cent say they have gained membership.
Ministers have vowed to press on after a consultation on proposals to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales and to enable existing civil partners to “convert” into a civil marriage.
Mr Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all support the plans – with the Deputy Prime Minister becoming embroiled in a row last month after a draft version of a speech described opponents of gay marriage as "bigots".
Religious organisations would not be compelled to conduct same-sex marriages in their places of worship. However, the Church of England and other religious bodies have criticised the impact of the plans on the institution of marriage as a whole.
Today’s ComRes poll for the Coalition for Marriage, the campaign group which opposes any change to the law, shows that such concerns are also prevalent throughout local Tory associations as party activists gather for their annual conference in Birmingham this week.
In a message aimed at the Prime Minister personally, only one in 10 local chairmen says the plans have enhanced Mr Cameron’s standing with the party, while 70 per cent say they have made it worse.
- By Patrick Hennessey, Telegraph
David Cameron has been given a clear demand from the Conservative Party’s grass roots to drop his controversial plans to legalise same-sex marriage in an eve-of-conference poll.
The survey of Tory constituency chairmen, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, finds that 71 per cent think the proposal – which the Prime Minister has pledged will be law by 2015 – should be abandoned.
Nearly half the chairmen claim their local parties have lost members as a result of the plans, while only three per cent say they have gained membership.
Ministers have vowed to press on after a consultation on proposals to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales and to enable existing civil partners to “convert” into a civil marriage.
Mr Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all support the plans – with the Deputy Prime Minister becoming embroiled in a row last month after a draft version of a speech described opponents of gay marriage as "bigots".
Religious organisations would not be compelled to conduct same-sex marriages in their places of worship. However, the Church of England and other religious bodies have criticised the impact of the plans on the institution of marriage as a whole.
Today’s ComRes poll for the Coalition for Marriage, the campaign group which opposes any change to the law, shows that such concerns are also prevalent throughout local Tory associations as party activists gather for their annual conference in Birmingham this week.
In a message aimed at the Prime Minister personally, only one in 10 local chairmen says the plans have enhanced Mr Cameron’s standing with the party, while 70 per cent say they have made it worse.
- It'll be legal in North Korea before it is legal here.
- Legal partnerships have been implemented in Germany since 2001 - but gay's and lesbians didn't have the same rights and obligations than herero couples. I think most, but not all of those differences have been adjusted. Wikipedia is not completely right in this issue. I used to live in Germany now living in Australia. Gays living openly is quite uncommon in Aussieland sadly, even in the big cities.
- Another case where the progay side got complacent and the antigay side is beating the hell out of them in organizing and public outrcy. Didn't France learn anything from the debacle in the UK? Why don't progay Europeans engage in the same type of street/grassroots mass organization and protests that the antigay is so great at? Wake up, pro-gay France!
(Reuters) - Plans by France's Socialist government to legalise same-sex marriage are proving harder to enact than first thought after faith leaders and conservatives mobilised against it even as left-wing deputies try to expand it.
With a solid majority it won last spring, the government originally only planned short parliamentary hearings and a debate early next year before voting on one of President Francois Hollande's most divisive campaign promises and something he has framed as a trademark reform.
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But as opposition has grown, it has put off issuing the draft text of the reform and scheduled longer parliamentary hearings. It has also put aside one demand, assisted procreation - or giving gay couples the right to have "test tube babies" - as too hot to handle for now.
"Parliament will take its time," Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Saturday. "Nobody doubts (the reform) will become law, but all opinions - political, philosophical or religious - will be heard."
Inter-LGBT, a group pressing for full equality on all issues of sexual orientation, has accused Hollande of backtracking on his campaign promises. "The symbolism is strong but they're stopping halfway," said spokesman Nicolas Gougain.
"We thought we would get everything from a left-wing government," said a disappointed civil servant at a debate on gay parenting in the western city of Nantes. "There are still many fights to be fought."
SECULAR ARGUMENTS FROM FAITH LEADERS
Passing the law by mid-2013 as planned would make France the 12th country around the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
Surveys by the Ifop polling group show support for gay marriage has slipped a bit from 65 percent in August to 61 percent now as the public debate has taken off.
Public support for full adoption rights for gay couples, the second part of the planned reform, has also slid from 53 per cent then to 48 percent now.
Sandra Adjedj, 36, a dress designer displaying her wares at a wedding salon in Paris, echoed the ambivalence about adoption rights. "I'm neither for nor against, but why not?" she said. "Most gay couples seem sweet, they like their children."
Leaders of the main religions have led the anti-reform drive using arguments based on the psychological and social damage they say it could cause rather than on religious doctrines.
The majority Roman Catholic Church organised nationwide prayers against gay marriage reform on August 15 and Paris cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois has discussed the issue in private talks with Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
The Church has also distributed talking points to help Catholics around the country debate supporters of the reform.
Like the position papers by leaders of other faiths, the memo stresses respect for homosexuals but rejects their effort to redefine the traditional institution of marriage.
Over 78,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by 41 conservative politicians and intellectuals as well as Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox Christian, evangelical and Muslim leaders.
Conservative mayors have called for a "conscience clause" to avoid presiding at same-sex marriages, which Paris has refused.
In an analysis published last week, Grand Rabbi Gilles Bernheim accused reform supporters of focusing on love and equality to win changes that he said could confuse children's sexual identities and undermine social stability.
Even the state's child benefits agency has criticised the plan to scrap the entries for "father" and "mother" in official records in favour of "parent 1" and "parent 2".
Yet the government is facing loud demands from within its own ranks to go even further and allow newer methods of procreation so that gay couples can have a biological link to their children.
Senior Socialists including National Assembly speaker Claude Bartelone, parliamentary leader Bruno Le Roux and Harlem Desir, the party's new first secretary, want to amend the draft bill to include a clause granting gay couples the right to assisted procreation so they can make "test tube babies."
Senator Esther Benbassa, from the allied Greens party, said she would push for legal recognition of children born to surrogate mothers outside France, where the practice is illegal.
"The government has offered only the minimum," said Socialist Senator Jean-Pierre Michel. "Separating the question of marriage from that of parenthood makes no sense."
- FRANCE is next, no doubt!
- France has hit a significant stumbling block. Conservatives are flexing their muscles and progressives are just whining about it instead of marching en masse in the streets to show their muscles.
- The vote in France will be the 7th November officially.
- Stop being so outraged, r168. There's going to be opposition, big deal, we know that, that doesn't mean the government has to bow to it. In fact, this will probably be one of the least difficult and complicated issues for the Socialists to get through, as many of their other positions are stupid, so they will want to get at least one thing right.
- r172, the government bowed enough to delay the vote.
- r161 no one in Europe except the French considers France a "major" country relative to Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Most of us, in fact, consider France stubborn and backward when it comes to gender and sexuality law.
- I also heard Uruguay would legalize it.. they already legalized gay adoption.. but last time I heard about the upcoming gay marriage discussion in the parliament was last year.. guess it got delayed, or they voted it down.. I have no idea.
- Yeah, conservatives were able to block or freeze it in Uruguay. The opposition said no way.
- Full Comment’s Araminta Wordsworth brings you a daily round-up of quality punditry from across the globe. It’s official: The French are not as cool as we thought — even though they voted in François Hollande, the first president to live common law with his partner Valérie Trierweiler.
Unlike Canadians, who absorbed same-sex marriage with remarkably little angst, they are getting cold feet about allowing gays to wed. One of the planks of Hollande’s socialist platform, this was set to be debated in parliament and quickly passed into law.
That was the hope. Religious leader are against the new legislation, of course, even though only a civil ceremony is necessary to get married legally in France — any religious ritual is strictly optional.
France’s leading Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, is almost frothing at the mouth as he contemplates the horrors he claims gay marriage would bring, starting with a complete “breakdown in society” and heading down into the abyss.
“This could have innumerable consequences,” thundered the Primate of the Gauls. “Afterward they will want to create couples with three or four members. And after that, perhaps one day the taboo of incest will fall.”
Politicians are paying attention to such scare-mongering. Parliamentary action has now been postponed until the new year, when it is hoped passions will have cooled.
Part of the problem is that the new law encompasses more than the right to marry — it includes provisions allowing gay adoption, and that is proving a hard pill for some to swallow.
At the British website Lesblicious, Soline Marie says France is split by the debate.
The opening of marriage to gay couples creates an unprecedented debate, even more passionate and radical than the one around the civil partnership in 1999. The closer France gets to the actual examination of the proposition of law at the Assemblée Nationale – the equivalent of the Parliament – the more divided the society and the political parties are becoming. The detractors of the proposition of law blame it for being responsible of the division of society, and the public opinion is quite floating now that things are about to be official.
Even though the public opinion is mostly favourable to the gay marriage, the question of homo-parenthood remains problematic and is slowing down the process. A recent survey shows that the percentage of French citizens [favouring] gay adoption has dropped from 58% to 53% since last year.
In a lengthy editorial, the left-leaning Libération explains the background to the change.
Homosexuality, which became legal in France only 30 years ago, still alarms people. At the heart of the tensions: the idea that members of a same sex couple could become parents, [leading to] polygamy, incest, pedophilia, decadence, destruction of civilization, perversion of children … the arguments of the antis, who proclaim “Papa, Mama, the norm and me,” are unbelievably violent.
Ranged against them, the “pros” aren’t completely comfortable with the idea of gays as parents … If, on this side, support for the right to adoption is a given, the suggestion lesbians might benefit from sperm donations, as advocated by the associations supporting the gay cause, is being put on the back burner for later … There is no suggestion gay couples might have recourse to surrogates legally.
At Gay Star News, Nicolas Chinardet wonders why religious leaders are weighing in on a ceremony they have nothing to do with.
In France, where only civil ceremonies at the Town Hall have legal value (religious ceremonies are nothing but an optional extra), religious groups cannot claim marriage for themselves easily. This may explain the more restrained approached we observe.
Yet it seems that the temptation is still too difficult to resist and religious leaders just can’t help sharing their views on the subject with the world.
The tendency, however, seems to be to forget that the propositions only affect civil marriage. As such they have nothing to do with religion. Furthermore, all those arguments we hear from the French religious only hold if taken in the context of the faith in which they are expressed.
A report in the London Daily Telegraph points to another inflammatory aspect of the proposed new legislation.
France is set to ban the words “mother” and “father” from all official documents under controversial plans to legalise gay marriage.
The move, which has outraged Catholics, means only the word “parents” would be used in identical marriage ceremonies for all heterosexual and same-sex couples.
The draft law states that “marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender”.
It says all references to “mothers and fathers” in the civil code – which enshrines French law – will be swapped for simply “parents”.
The law would also give equal adoption rights to homosexual and heterosexual couples.
compiled by Araminta Wordsworth
- France’s Secular Opposition to Gay Marriage
A couple of days ago, around 200 protesters gathered in the central plaza in Toulouse to protest proposed legislation to make gay marriage legal. In France, like in the United States, same-sex marriage is a point of contention. But, unlike in the States, the protesters weren’t holding up holy books and screaming about Leviticus. Arguably worse, they voiced their disgust from a completely secular platform.
President François Hollande ran promising to legalize same-sex marriage. Like some states in the US, Civil unions are currently legal in France, but adoption and succession rights are non-existent.
The French Republic was founded on the ideas of equality and a French concept called laïcité—the complete absence of religion in governmental affairs. This means political discourse in France must be entirely free of religious rhetoric. So what you have in France is a large group of old people battling civil rights, not with religious ideals, but with science, sociology, and cold, reductive rationality.
Congregated in a large circle and separated from the counter-protest by a line of police, the anti-gay protesters hijacked and contorted the famous chant of the Arab Spring, Ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam, (The people want to bring down the Regime), supplementing the words of revolution with their own twisted lyrics. Un Papa, Une Mama…On ne ment pas aux Enfants! (One Father, One Mother…We don’t lie to Children!) The protesters claim that they are out there fighting for “Children’s Rights”—yes, these French people actually believe that same-sex marriages mess up children. One man told me, “Parents do not have the right to a child; Children have a right for parents.” When I asked him why those parents couldn’t be of the same sex, made-up studies and intolerant jargon began to spew forth like shit from his mouth. “The paring of male and females is part of the history of mankind…Their kids will be made fun off… it’s not fair for kids… you need both parents to raise a child, without mother and father, it’s a grave injustice”
Throughout the protest, there was tension in the air and the occasional flare-up. At one point it became very heated when two women hopped the fence and began to make-out intensely. They were swiftly separated before the cops could break up the encounter.
Rising above the culture war mosh-pit, engraved into the capitol above were the guiding words of the French Revolution: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. The French revolutionaries intended to establish full social and political equality. This idea was the basis of the republic.
Two French students told me that they had never witnessed an anti-gay rally of this size, and the secular prejudice was, to them, a new phenomenon. The consensus among the pro-gay-marriage demonstrators is that the National Assembly will easily pass the bill. But this new, fiery flare-up seems to suggest that things might take a different turn. Growing up in the US, I had always seen the country of France as the pinnacle of secular liberal thought and cosmopolitan culture. But it seems now that the ideals of a utopian society cultivated during the French Revolution can act as a kind of shield to protect the narrow-minded and prejudiced. In a sense anti-gay protesters in the US have the advantage of using their religion as a supposedly unquestionable justification for their intolerant philosophy; the protesters in France do not have this luxury. They are forced to concoct reasoning and adopt a façade of secularism.
Governmental structure has little effect on the prejudiced. Bigots will continue to be bigoted, no matter what. The anti-gay protesters in France show that even in the most politically progressive countries, change has to come from within a society.
- Reuters) - France's governing Socialist Party hit back hard at the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday for campaigning against its plan to legalize same-sex marriage, heralding a bruising debate over the issue.
Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois spoke against the proposed law on Saturday and encouraged Catholics to write to their elected officials and take to the streets in protest against the reform due to be voted on by mid-2013.
Opinion polls show that backing for the plan, a campaign promise by President Francois Hollande, has slipped several points since leaders of France's main religions began speaking out against it and now stands at just under 60 percent.
The government is due to present the draft text of the law to the cabinet on Wednesday.
"I'm shocked by this attitude which I think is a kind of return to a fundamentalism that I find problematic," Jean-Marie Le Guen, Socialist senator from Paris, said of Vingt-Trois's speech to bishops in the pilgrimage town of Lourdes.
Party spokesman David Assouline said it was not the Church's role "to oppose the will of the legislature, especially concerning civil marriage in a secular republic."
In his Lourdes speech, Vingt-Trois, who is head of the bishops' conference, said legalizing same-sex marriage would profoundly affect the equilibrium of French society and harm children who would grow up without a father and a mother.
"It will not be 'marriage for all'," he said, citing the slogan of campaign for gay matrimony, "it will be the marriage of a few imposed on all".
If the law passes, France - a traditionally Catholic society where churchgoers are now a single-digit minority - would become the 12th country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF FAMILIES
Erwann Binet, the Socialist Party's expert on the issue, said he hoped "the Catholics don't try to impose their vision of the family on the society."
He told the Le Parisien newspaper France now had many different types of families, including homosexuals who are bringing up children. "We parliamentarians should assure that all these forms of family can have the same rights," he said.
He also said that gay couples should have the right to adopt children or to resort to medically assisted procreation, both of which are only allowed to heterosexuals now.
The Catholic Church and France's Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox Christian and Buddhist religious minorities have been especially severe in criticizing the provisions for gay adoption and assisted procreation.
Some Socialist deputies have expressed doubts about including these provisions in the law to legalize gay marriage and it was not clear if the draft text would include them.
Lay Catholic groups organized protests in 75 cities around France last month and plan more in mid-November. Although he encouraged Catholics to join in, Vingt-Trois said it was not his role to lead a street protest.
Some conservative politicians have spoken out in favor of a large street protest in Paris and some mayors, the main officials who celebrate civil marriages, have said they would not preside over ceremonies for gay couples.
Laurent Wasquiez, a leading deputy in the conservative opposition UMP party, defended Vingt-Trois's open criticism of the plan and called on the government to take more time to seek a consensus about any change in the definition of marriage.
"The government wants to rush this through, without taking the time to get everyone around the table," he told France 3 television.
France legalized gender-neutral civil unions in 1999 and almost as many are now contracted every year as traditional marriages. But only four percent of those are among same-sex couples.
(Reporting By Tom Heneghan; Editing by Stephen Powell)
- A poll out Saturday showed that the number of French people who support gay marriage is going down, ahead of a bill pushing for its legalisation is presented to the cabinet on Wednesday.
The poll published in Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France revealed that 58 percent of people were for legalising gay marriage, versus 63 percent in 2011. Those in favour of allowing gay couples to adopt has also gone down, from 50 to 56 percent last year.
Groups against gay marriage and adoption added fuel to the fire on Saturday, calling for protests on 17 November across the country. Baptised “A Protest for All,” organisers want parliament to block the proposed law, to avoid what would be a “huge and dangerous move.”
Protests against the bill have sprung up around the country, such as the country-wide demonstrations held on 23 October when an estimated 700 people protested in the capital.
But a mayor in Hantay, in the north of France, gave gay marriage supporters hope on Saturday, by announcing that she would preside over a marriage between two women on 10 November if the bill was accepted.
Socialist Mayor Désirée Duhem said the young couple had already planned to hold the ceremony and transformed their plans when news of a possible legalisation of gay marriage was announced.
Legalisation of the ceremony wouldn't come immediately, but Duhem said she hoped the government would "indulge" them.
Once the bill passes before the French cabinet, it will be presented to parliament in January. The original date of mid-December was pushed back to allow for more time to finalise details of the proposed law.
Minister of Family Dominique Bertinotti has said that he is confident in the intelligence of the parliament: "You’ll see, we will have a wonderful societal law that will be able to accommodate a maximum of family situations.”
The proposed law would allow gay couples to adopt, as well as allow both parents in a gay couple to have legal rights to their children, regardless of which one is the biological parent.
Legalising gay marriage was one of President François Hollande’s campaign promises before his election in May.
Support for gay marriage in France declines as government pushes bill
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By Bastien Inzaurralde | 08:36 am
France’s government unveiled a bill Wednesday to legalize marriage and adoption for same-sex couples amid heated rhetoric and waning popular support for what appeared to be an uncontroversial issue just a few months ago.
French President François Hollande considers the bill to be a step toward equality and a symbol of progress for the whole society.
“The president obviously underscored that this bill was going to open a debate as we know, [and] that this debate is legitimate,” Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the government’s spokeswoman, said at a weekly press briefing, adding that debate “must be kept under control, it must be respectful of opinions and beliefs.”
The bill was presented during the government’s weekly meeting at the presidential palace and is expected to go to Parliament and become law next year. The legalization of marriage and adoption for gay couples was part of Hollande’s political platform during the presidential campaign earlier this year.
Analysts say that even though introducing the bill now might not be a good idea politically, the government has had no choice but to push it along in order not to look weak on this issue in the eyes of voters.
Céline Bracq, the associate director of the polling group BVA Opinion, says the French government is pushing the bill now because it wants to convince voters that it still has a left-wing and progressive agenda despite tough economic times. This strategy, however, could be counterproductive as the public wants the government to focus on economic issues rather than legalize marriage and adoption for gay couples now, she says.
“The idea of the government is to be able to send messages [to voters] on economic and welfare issues but also to send messages on social issues, which are issues that are associated with the left wing,” Ms. Bracq says. “Now, is this a good idea to do this so quickly? In terms of public opinion, probably not.”
Though same-sex couples have had access to a form of civil union created in 1999 called Pacs, which stands for Pact of Civil Solidarity, the unveiling of the bill comes after a series of declarations by some mayors saying they would refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies if the law was passed. The Catholic Church, which has had a historically influential role in France, is also heavily criticizing the government’s project.
The right-wing opposition UMP party has made it clear it will not support the bill.
Jean-Frédéric Poisson, a national lawmaker of the UMP party and the Christian-Democratic Party opposing the bill, has called for a national referendum on the issue and says the government has underestimated the bill’s potential for controversy.
“I believe the debate is starting to take off and the government probably didn’t imagine at the beginning of this operation that this debate would grow,” Mr. Poisson says. “It probably thought that it was a done deal, that the public opinion was, indeed, largely in favor of it and that no problem would be posed by this project. And that’s just not the case.”
Decline in approval for supporting gay rights
A Nov. 3 survey by BVA Opinion showed a sharp decline in the support for gay marriage and adoption among the population compared with 2011. However, a majority of those surveyed were still in favor of the measures.
The poll found 58 percent of those surveyed supported legalizing marriage for gay couples, down from 63 percent in 2011.
By contrast, the proportion of those against gay marriage went up from 33 percent in 2011 to 41 percent. Some 50 percent of respondents said they supported adoption for gay couples, while 47 percent of those surveyed said they opposed it. In 2011, 56 percent of those surveyed supported adoption for gay couples while 40 percent opposed it.
Weeks of rallies...
More than 1,000 supporters of the bill gathered Wednesday evening near the National Assembly, France’s lower chamber of Parliament, holding banners demanding equality between straight and gay couples. The participants formed a rope made of children's clothes on the public square where they gathered. They raised their arms and held the clothes above their heads to signify that the children of gay couples are so far invisible in the eyes of law.
“What do you want?” shouted an organizer to the protesters, who shouted back, “Equality!”
“When do you want it?” the organizer then asked. “Now!” the crowd responded.
Marie-Claude Picardat, the co-president of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and Future Parents, says her group is “extremely happy, extremely moved” by the unveiling of the bill but she wishes the government would add more measures, such as medically assisted procreation – including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization – for lesbian couples.
“Our disappointment, however, is extremely strong because a law of this kind will not allow a real recognition of gay families with children,” Ms. Picardat told the Monitor at the rally. “It will not facilitate the constitution of families, and it doesn’t allow, in spite of everything, a strict equality between gay and straight people.”
Caroline Gallais, a humanitarian worker from Paris, says she attended the rally “to defend my right to marry the woman I love and have children with her.”
Pro-life group Alliance Vita held several demonstrations against marriage and adoption for gay people across France on Oct. 23, with over 700 people attending a rally in Paris’ business district La Défense.
... and protests
At the heart of the anti-equality protests, which included choreographed skits, the message was clear: A child should be raised by both a mother and a father.
Women dressed in white sat on one side and men dressed in black sat on the other in a large public square. Many held a pink banner reading; “A Dad. A Mom. You don’t lie to children.” An actor wearing a full-length grey bodysuit and holding a green cardboard wing labeled “Dad” in his right hand and a pink wing labeled “Mom” in his left one, stumbled down the aisle between seated women and men. The actor kept stumbling, as if he was going to collapse, but his pace grew steady as the group of men shouted “Mom!” and the women shouted “Dad!”
This choreography was repeated multiple times as the group’s delegate general Tugdual Derville warned the crowd against the dangers of gay marriage.
“Here is a bill that aims to disturb the father-mother balance inside the couple of parents even though you well know that this balance is the best structure offered to the child in order for him or her to grow up,” Mr. Derville said.
The bill is expected to pass next year because the Socialist Party has a majority of seats in both parliamentary chambers.
- The antigay movement in France is proving to be even louder than the antigay movement in the UK.They are pulling out all stops to derail ssm in France.
- Yet, they seem to be failing in their goal and the government approved the draft law a couple of days ago. It goes to parliament some time in mid-2013, and the goverment has a majority there.
- New Zealand
- Voters are turning away from the Tories because of David Cameron’s support for gay marriage, according to a poll.
The finding casts doubt on the Prime Minister and George Osborne’s claims that backing same-sex weddings will boost Conservative chances of securing a majority at the next election.
A ComRes survey published today found that 62 per cent of voters and 68 per cent of Tories believe marriage should continue to be defined as a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’.
In a further blow for the PM, 65 per cent agree that his plans to legalise gay marriage are ‘more to do with trying to make the Conservative Party look trendy and modern’ than a matter of conviction.
One in four voters says gay marriage could sway their vote at the next election. But while 7 per cent say they are more likely to vote Tory, 18 per cent – more than twice as many – say they are less likely.
More significantly, the effect is dramatically magnified among those who voted Conservative in 2010 but say they may not do so at the next election.
Only 4 per cent of this group say they are more likely to vote Tory over gay marriage, while 36 per cent say they are less likely.
That eightfold margin has increased as public discussion of the issue has intensified in recent months. In April the margin was just three to one.
The poll comes after the Chancellor wrote a newspaper article earlier this month arguing that the Conservative Party would be wrong to drop its support for gay marriage.
Only 23 per cent of all voters agree with the Tory leadership that gay marriage will help them win the next election, while 40 per cent disagree. Of those who have turned away from the Tories since 2010, 17 per cent agree and 56 disagree.
The poll of more than 2,000 voters conducted over the past week also found that 63 per cent believe many of those opposed to gay marriage are reluctant to say so ‘for fear of being called a bigot’.
By a margin of 45 to 38 per cent, voters do not think opponents of gay marriage are bigots who should be ignored.
In another result that piles pressure on Mr Cameron, 71 per cent say ‘marriage is important to society and should be promoted by the state’.
That will embolden Cabinet ministers such as Iain Duncan Smith who are telling Mr Cameron he must honour his long-standing pledge to recognise marriage in the tax system at the next Budget, rather than waiting until 2015 as the Chancellor would prefer.
Another huge majority – 69 per cent – believes children should be raised by a father and a mother in a committed permanent relationship.
There is some solace for gay rights campaigners. Two thirds of voters back civil partnerships for same-sex couples.
And by a margin of 44 to 38, voters say legalising gay marriage is important because maintaining the distinction between civil partnerships and marriage ‘worsens public attitudes towards gay people’.
Gay marriage is not part of the Government’s current legislative programme but all three party leaders have said they will support its introduction before the next election.
Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage pressure group, said: ‘This poll is the latest blow to a profoundly undemocratic plan that day by day is falling apart before our eyes.
‘[Mr Osborne] should concentrate on fixing Britain’s broken economy instead of trying to rip up the centuries-old definition of marriage in a desperate bid to appear progressive and trendy.’
- Eh, The Daily Mail. Let's read The Guardian version now... That will actually reflect reality.
- Yeah, the poll is dubious, but I will give the rightwing credit in the UK and France for being zealous and united in hyping their cause. THey are not backing down and are making a lot of noise in both countries. I wish our side was as committed and media-savvy.
- 1) New Zealand
2) Ireland, yes Ireland. All political parties in the Dail (Parliament) support marriage equality, but no one is sure how to permit same sex marriages. The 1937 Irish constitution is a conservative document and scholars say that the only way to legalize same sex marriage would be by means of a constitutional convention. The government of Enda Kenney is in the process of scheduling a series of events leading to such a convention. Marriage equality isn' the only issue to be addressed at the convention, the rights of the child is the number one issue to be determined. (BTW, because of the priest-pedophile scandals, the Catholic Church probably has lost much of its influence on the Irish electorate for the time being)
As for Australia, Prime Minister Julia Gilliard is afraid that her Labor Party would lose the marriage-and-mortgage belt, 20 or so parliamentary seats that would be called swing districts in the US. She is also afraid of splitting Labor with younger Laborites and women in Labor (couldn't resist the pun) who support marriage equality vs traditional Catholic trade unionists who are vehemently opposed to marriage equality, The leader of Australia's centre-right opposition refuses to permit a free or conscience vote for the members of his block.
Cameron facing huge revolt over gay marriage
November 24, 2012 11:47 am
118 Tory MPs set to defy Cameron and trigger biggest Tory party rebellion in modern times
DAVID CAMERON is facing the biggest revolt of his premiership – and it’s all due to gay marriage.
Reports from Westminster this week revealed 118 Conservatives out of 303 have written to constituents indicating their unease with the Prime Minister’s plan to legalise gay marriage. If they all vote against, it would be the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times.
Among the 118 is gay MP Conor Burns. He said he ‘marvels’ at why David Cameron is prioritising same-sex marriage when there is no ‘clamour’ for it in the gay community.
Backbencher Douglas Carswell, another of those who will vote against, said: ‘I think you’ve got to have your head stuck in the Westminster bubble to think this is a priority.’
The vote could happen as early as January after Mr Cameron decided this week to ‘get it done and get it done quickly’.
They are an eclectic bunch – including a former breakfast TV presenter, a former top City investment manager, a Liverpool football fan and a gay friend of Margaret Thatcher.
But all have one thing in common: they are among the many Tory MPs who bitterly oppose David Cameron’s controversial policy to make gay marriage legal.
Even though the policy was not in the party’s election manifesto, his Old Etonian-dominated kitchen cabinet have told the PM that this legislation is a litmus test of his efforts to ‘decontaminate’ the Tories’ image on social issues.
Mr Cameron is honouring the commitment he made at the Tory conference last year when he said: ‘I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.’
Even though No 10 has signalled that it will be a free vote in the Commons, ministers will be under huge pressure to back the measure because the PM has staked so much personal authority on the change.
Indeed, last week George Osborne in an extraordinary move said he feared that the Tories risked losing the next general election if they don’t allow same-sex marriages.
However, recent polls suggest Cameron is in danger of alienating his core supporters. One poll this week found that 62 per cent of voters and 68 per cent of Tory supporters believe marriage should continue to be defined as a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’.
A further 65 per cent said that plans to legalise gay marriage are ‘more to do with trying to make the Conservative Party look trendy and modern’ than a matter of conviction.
These findings are reinforced by a petition set up by the lobby group Coalition For Marriage (C4M) which has been signed by 612,000 people. It declares: ‘I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.’
The Prime Minister has exacerbated tension on the Tory benches by issuing what has been described as a ‘guillotine’ – rushing the Bill into the Commons to fast-track the reform.
It is C4M which has collated the correspondence from Tory MPs.
Among the 118 MPs is 40-year-old Conor Burns. The openly gay MP for Bournemouth West who is a close friend of Lady Thatcher, said in a local newspaper interview: ‘I marvel at why we’re bringing this forward. There is no clamour for this at all within the gay community.’
Right-winger David Jones takes a similar view. The solicitor, MP for Clwyd West, became Welsh Secretary in the last reshuffle and is regarded as a Cameron loyalist.
Yet the 60-year-old die-hard Liverpool fan made clear his opposition in an email to a constituent in March when he was already a junior minister. He said: ‘I believe marriage is an institution ordained to sanctify a union between a man and a woman. If a vote is called, I shall vote in accordance with my beliefs.’
His deputy at the Welsh Office is Stephen Crabb, 39. He said in an email earlier this year: ‘I share the view of a great many Christians and people of other faiths who have a strong conception of marriage as a union between a husband and wife. When it comes to re-defining the concept of marriage in law, I do not think that Parliament should seek to alter the current position.’
In a popularity poll of Tory MPs, Esther McVey, the new Minister for the Disabled, would be close to the top. The blonde former GMTV presenter, who has a large Catholic community in her Wirral West constituency and is a Catholic herself, wrote in a letter in July: ‘I remain concerned that re-defining marriage is unnecessary given the established legal rights, which effectively mirror marriage, for same-sex couples through civil partnerships. I presently intend to vote against the measure if it comes before Parliament.’
James Wharton, the 28-year-old MP for Stockton South, is the youngest Tory MP and one of the few Conservatives with a seat in the North East. But with a majority of only 332, he has one of the most marginal seats at Westminster and he rarely rebels against the Government.
But two weeks ago he wrote in an email about his concern about the ‘unique religious connotation’ of marriage and spoke of the risk of churches being forced to perform gay marriages under EU law.
‘I am minded to vote against when it comes before Parliament though I will of course look at the detail of the proposals when the time comes,’ he said.
By contrast, Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, has a thumping majority of 20,000. A rising star, she was voted ‘backbencher to watch’ at this week’s Spectator magazine political awards.
She, too, opposes same-sex marriage. C4M said she sent an email to a constituent saying she was ‘not supportive’ of the law-change.
Another opponent is Gary Streeter, 55, who was a minister in the Major government and describes himself as a passionate supporter of Mr Cameron. The MP for South West Devon, a committed Christian who believes in faith healing, said in an interview in February: ‘I wish it were not happening …don’t try to tamper with the timeless concept and meaning of marriage, which for most of us does mean one man for one woman for life.’
The list of big-name Tories continues. Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury select committee, told a meeting of his local Tory association in Chichester, Sussex, that the proposals were ‘bonkers’.
He also said in a letter in August: ‘I believe that Parliamentary legislation should focus on those issues which matter to most people across the country: safeguarding their well-being and restoring the economy to health.’
One can only assume that the Tory whips have drawn Mr Cameron’s attention to this growing rebellion. In any case, it is now patently clear that the PM cannot write off opponents of his policy as the usual hardline right-wingers who have never been reconciled to his modernisation efforts.
After this week’s huge schism in the Church of England over the vote not to allow the appointment of women bishops, the Tory party is now facing its own equally bitter civil war.
- U R a gay in Uruguay!
The Government will set out its plans to legislate for gay marriage amid bitter opposition from some Tory MPs.
The historic move - which will allow same-sex couples to wed in church - has been hailed by gay rights campaigners and is seen as a litmus test of David Cameron's efforts to modernise the Conservative Party.
But the move has angered Tory traditionalists who have warned that many activists will no longer be prepared to go out and campaign for the party if it goes through. The Prime Minister on Monday sought to defuse tensions within the party, assuring Conservative MPs that they will have a free vote on the issue.
With both Labour and the Liberal Democrats backing change, the legislation - to be unveiled in the Commons by Culture Secretary Maria Miller - is expected to pass by a comfortable majority. But it is thought that as many as 130 Tory MPs could vote against, underlining the deep divisions in the Conservative ranks.
Mr Cameron on Monday acknowledged that equal marriage was not seen as a priority at a time when the Government was preoccupied with deficit reduction and public sector reform, but said he believed the time had now come for change.
"Civil partnerships were a great step forward, but I think marriage is a great institution, so why close it off to people who happen to be gay? So we should have marriage equality," he told a Westminster lunch.
"There are those in the Conservative Party who disagree. I have always said it is going to be a free vote and that free vote applies to everybody, so I won't be whipping people or pressurising people.
"This is a matter for Parliament. I think we just have to be grown up and accept that in a modern party, sometimes we will have issues of conscience where people will vote in different ways."
The measures will grant religious groups which want to stage same-sex civil marriages in places of worship the right to do so, but will offer a guarantee that no institution will be forced to do so. Mrs Miller has told MPs the plans had been drafted so there was a "negligible" chance of a successful legal challenge to religions which refuse to open their doors to gay weddings.
But senior Conservative backbencher Edward Leigh, who used an urgent question to force the Culture Secretary to come to the despatch box, said the state had "no right" to redefine marriage in this way. He called for a new consultation, arguing that the current plan "greatly increases the chance of human rights litigation to force churches, against their will, to have same-sex marriages".
- Pushing ahead with legislation for gay marriage in church would be "a disaster" for the Conservative party, an MP has warned.
Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, spoke out ahead of Government plans to pave the way for same-sex equality laws that could see gay marriages allowed in church as soon as 2014.
He told Sky News: "I believe this is a mistake. It's a very divisive issue and an unnecessary piece of legislation.
"It is fundamentally an un-Conservative policy and if (Prime Minister David Cameron) presses ahead with this it will be a disaster for the party and the country."
When the vote happens next year, MPs are likely to be allowed to decide according to their conscience, rather than their party.
Mr Cameron has promised a change in the law in England and Wales by the next election - May 2015 at the latest.
The news has been widely welcomed by the gay community, with one leading vicar hailing it as "a breakthrough".
Reverend Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said: "It has been a real rollercoaster of emotions, but this is brilliant news.
"We are all God's children and he loves us all equally. So why shouldn't I be able to marry the person I love in church?"
She added: "It takes a good year to plan a good wedding so we better get planning."
Mr Cameron is facing fierce criticism from some Tory MPs over the legislation, which is due to be unveiled on Tuesday by Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
As many as 130 backbenchers are tipped to oppose him in the vote.
The measures will grant religious groups which want to stage same-sex civil marriages in places of worship the right to do so, but will offer a guarantee that no institution will be forced to do so.
- he Government is unveiling its plans to allow same-sex marriage in Church despite bitter opposition from some Tory MPs.
The measures will clear the way for civil marriages in places of worship as early as 2014, although venues will not be forced to comply.
Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller is outlining the proposals in the Commons.
Her statement comes after a Tory MP warned that pushing ahead with legislation would be a "disaster" for the Conservative Party.
Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, told Sky News: "I believe this is a mistake. It's a very divisive issue and an unnecessary piece of legislation.
"It is fundamentally an un-Conservative policy and if (Prime Minister David Cameron) presses ahead with this it will be a disaster for the party and the country."
When the vote happens next year, MPs are likely to be allowed to decide according to their conscience rather than follow the party line.
Mr Cameron has promised a change in the law in England and Wales by the next election in May 2015 at the latest.
The news has been widely welcomed by the gay community with one leading vicar hailing it as a "breakthrough".
Reverend Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said: "It has been a real roller coaster of emotions, but this is brilliant news.
"We are all God's children and he loves us all equally. So why shouldn't I be able to marry the person I love in church?"
She added: "It takes a good year to plan a good wedding, so we'd better get planning."
However, Mr Cameron is facing fierce criticism from some Tory MPs over the legislation and he has promised there will be a free vote.
As many as 130 backbenchers are expected to oppose him when the measures are before the Commons.
- France & UK
The Conservatives' turmoil over David Cameron's plans for gay marriage has been compounded after Ukip pledged to exploit their divisions and go after the votes of Tories who abandon the party over the issue.
Amid signs that Conservative associations are losing members in their droves over what is being dubbed the prime minister's "clause IV moment", the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, warned that gay marriage could "rip apart" the Conservative party. He plans to put the issue at the heart of Ukip's campaign for the 2014 European parliamentary elections.
The government set out its plans on Tuesday to introduce gay marriage by 2014. It also tried to appease more than 100 Tory MPs planning to vote against the legislation by outlining a new "quadruple lock" that will make it illegal for gay marriage ceremonies to be conducted by the churches of England and Wales.
Other religious organisations will be able to "opt in" to holding the ceremonies.
The law will also state that no one can be prosecuted for preaching the belief that marriage can be between a man and a woman only.
In a statement to MPs, the culture secretary and equalities minister, Maria Miller, said: "Because the churches of England and Wales have explicitly stated that they do not wish to conduct same-sex marriage, the legislation will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples. That provision recognises and protects the unique and established nature of those churches."
The concession from Miller failed to win over the Church of England and many Tory MPs, including four ministerial aides and the former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan, who stood up to denounce the plans. Andrew Selous, parliamentary private secretary to the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said: "This legislation will mark a significant moment as this country will be passing a law that is directly contrary to what Jesus said about marriage in Mark chapter 10 and Matthew chapter 19."
A meeting between Miller and backbench MPs after her statement broke up abruptly when she arrived late after conducting a series of television interviews.
Peter Bone, the MP for Wellingborough, told Miller the government had no mandate for the change because it had not appeared in the coalition agreement or the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos. He said: "You need a mandate for this. This whole exercise would have gone down well with Joseph Stalin."
One prominent Tory on the right voiced support, however. Bernard Jenkin said: "It is legislation not to change the society in which we live but to recognise how society has already changed … We should afford the freedom to marry to every citizen in this country."
Ukip made clear that it would exploit such Tory divisions in the runup to the European elections in June 2014, which will take place a few months after the legislation is due to come into force.
Farage told the Guardian: "David Cameron's proposal has the potential to rip apart the traditional rural Tory vote. While Ukip wholly respects the rights of gay people to have civil partnerships, we feel the prime minister's proposals will present an affront to millions of people in this country for whom this will be the final straw.
The division between city and rural is absolutely huge. In my village pub in Kent they are just completely against."
Farage believes the gay marriage issue will serve his party well by highlighting the impact of the European court of human rights on Britain and by showing Ukip can rally support around a touchstone issue. "Ukip is not a one-issue party," he said. "But the gay marriage case is closely interwoven with the European court of human rights, as is so much of our life. Ukip will be seen to be a party campaigning not just about who governs Britain but about how we think that Britain should be governed."
The intervention by Farage came as Tory associations confirmed that members have resigned over the issue. The Arundel and South Downs Association, whose MP, Nick Herbert, is a leading supporter of the plans, confirmed there had been resignations. Councillor Gordon Marples, deputy chairman of the association, said: "Views are polarised. We have seen people resign on a point of principle. It is contentious. It is a big issue. It is not something I would have sought. I don't have any particularly strong views on it. I just believe in equality and this is the way society is moving."
Marples said he would not fall out with Herbert, who faced Tory dissent when he told Miller in the Commons that opinion polls showed "widespread support for the change". Marples said: "I understand where Nick is coming from. He is in a civil partnership but he and I are not going to fall out on this. I understand David Cameron trying to modernise the Conservative party. But for most people it is rather like the AV vote – the timing seems to be quite unusual."
Councillor Frank Wilkinson, another officer of the Arundel association, offered strong personal support for Herbert, although he said he fundamentally disagreed with him. "If gay people want to have a civil ceremony that is fine by me, if they want to live together and love one another that is fine by me. But I am of the age now where I am a traditionalist – I have been married to my dear wife for 52 years – and I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I can't change my mind on that. But I have every respect for people who want to love their lives as they do."
Government whips claim that 60% of the Tory party's 303 MPs will support the proposals when MPs vote on the legislation next year. It will be passed only with the support of Labour and Lib Dem MPs.
Tory MPs will be given a free vote, allowing at least three cabinet ministers to vote against the change. Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, David Jones, the Wales secretary, and Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, have all voiced concerns. Duncan Smith does not agree with gay marriage, but he believes he needs to tread with care because, as a former Tory leader, he needs to show particular sensitivity.
The Church of England made clear that the concession from the government did not go far enough.
The Rev Tim Stephens, the Bishop of Leicester, said it was "most troubling that the government and opposition have together in their proceeding with this measure led to division, not only within the country where polls consistently show half the population against this change, but also between the political class and the vast majority of practicing religious people".
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, and Archbishop Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark, said opponents of gay marriage should lobby MPs "clearly, calmly and forcefully, and without impugning the motives of others". They said: "The meaning of marriage matters. It derives that meaning from its function as the foundation of the family."
The main group campaigning against the change – the Coalition for Marriage – is to try to win over more Tory MPs by warning that the issue could be what it is describing as Cameron's "Iraq moment". A source in the group said: "Tony Blair needed the support of Tory MPs to win the Iraq vote after 139 Labour MPs rebelled. It did lasting damage to his authority which he never recovered."
A new Ipsos-MORI poll for Freedom to Marry has found that three-quarters of voters support same-sex marriage. The most popular choice – 45% – was that gay people should be allowed to get married to each other but religious organisations should not be required to provide wedding ceremonies to gay people.
But a further 28% of voters thought that gay people should be allowed to get married to each other and religious organisations should be required to provide wedding ceremonies to gay people.
This means nearly three quarters of voters – 73% – want to allow gay marriage while less than a quarter – 24% – do not. Only one in six voters – 17% - thought that gay people should not be allowed to get married but should be allowed to form a civil partnership.
Ed Miliband moved to scotch rumours of divisions in the shadow cabinet. The Labour leader said: "The whole shadow cabinet is united in supporting same sex marriage together with the vast majority of all Labour MPs."
The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell condemned the exemption for the churches of England and Wales as "a disappointing fudge".
He said: "There is no reason why these churches should be treated differently from other faiths. The government is treating two churches differently from all other religions."
- Uruguay's lower house approves gay marriage law
December 11, 2012 RSS Feed Print
By PABLO FERNANDEZ, Associated Press
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Lawmakers in taboo-breaking Uruguay voted to legalize gay marriage late Tuesday night, approving a single law governing marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals.
The proposal now goes to the Senate, where the ruling coalition has enough votes for passage. President Jose Mujica plans to sign it into law early next year.
The proposal, which passed the lower house of Congress by a wide margin Tuesday, would also let all couples, gay or straight, decide whose surname goes first when they name their children.
That breaks with a tradition that has held for centuries across Latin America, where in nearly every country, laws require people to give their children two last names, and the father's comes first.
"It's an issue that will generate confusion in a society that has forever taken the father's name. But these changes in society have to be accepted," said Deputy Anibal Gloodtdofsky of the right-wing Colorado Party, who told The Associated Press he plans to join the ruling Broad Front coalition and vote in favor on Tuesday.
The "Marriage Equality Law" also would replace Uruguay's 1912 divorce law, which gave only women, and not their husbands, the right to renounce marriage vows without cause. In the early 20th Century, Uruguay's lawmakers saw this as an equalizer, since men at the time held all the economic and social power in a marriage, historian Gerardo Caetano said.
"A hundred years later, with all the changes that have occurred in Uruguayan society, this argument has fallen of its own accord," Caetano said Tuesday. "It's absolutely logical now that divorces can happen if either party wants it. And I really think it won't have much of an impact."
The projected law's co-sponsor, Broad Front deputy Anibal Pereyra, said Uruguay's civil code needs to be updated so that all the rights and responsibilities apply to anyone who wants to marry, straight or gay.
Uruguay became the first Latin American country to legalize abortion this year, and its Congress is debating a plan to put the government in charge of marijuana sales as a way to attack illegal marijuana traffickers.
The new proposal would make Uruguay the second nation in Latin America and the 12th in the world to legalize gay marriage, after The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark.
The bill also would clarify rules for adoption and in-vitro fertilization, and eliminate the words "marido y mujer" (husband and woman) in marriage contracts, refering instead to the gender neutral "contrayentes" (contracting parties).
The Roman Catholic Church is opposed to the proposal, but the church has little political influence in secular Uruguay.
Judging from the congressional debate so far, giving gays and lesbians all the same rights and responsibilities of married straight couples seems to have been the easy part for most lawmakers. The naming change seemed to cause the most controversy as the measure came through legislative committees.
In the end, the legislators proposed to let all couples choose which surname comes first for their children. And if they can't decide, the proposed law says a "sorteo," such as the flip of a coin, in the civil registry office should decide the issue.
The law also sets out naming rules for adoptees and people born outside marriage. A child registered by a single parent would take that parent's name as a first surname. And one whose parents are unknown altogether would be given "two commonly used names" selected by the civil registry office.
In the United States and many other countries, couples are free to decide what surnames to give their children. Even in many Latin American nations, some people already shun convention and use a mother's name if family circumstances make use of the paternal name inconvenient or impossible.
Uruguay's neighbor Argentina has been more rigid: When it became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage in 2010, its lawmakers said last names would go in alphabetical order for the children of same-sex couples, and they left the naming traditions of heterosexuals unchanged.
- Ahead of today's statement by equalities minister Maria Miller on gay marriage, there has been some confusion over Labour's position. The party previously indicated that it would impose a three-line whip on its MPs (in favour of the bill), but now appears likely to offer a free vote. However, as one MP explained to me, there's been no U-turn. "The three-line whip only applied to civil ceremonies. Now the government has agreed to allow gay marriages in religious buildings, we will hold a free vote."
Although less numerous than those in the Conservatives, there are some in Miliband's party who are hostile towards gay marriage. Roger Godsiff, the MP for Birmingham Hall Green, has said he will oppose any law "redefining the current definition of marriage", while his parliamentary colleague Austin Mitchell tweeted yesterday: "Gay marriage is neither urgent nor important.It's also a moral issue therefore a free vote on which basis it won't pass". Three other Labour MPs, Jim Dobbin, Joe Benton and Mary Glindon, have signed the Coalition For Marriage petition against the proposal.
The Lib Dems have yet to say whether their MPs will be whipped in favour of gay marriage, but it's worth noting that Nick Clegg has previously criticised David Cameron's decision to offer Conservative MPs a free vote. He told The Andrew Marr Show in May: "My view is that in the same way that the civil partnerships legislation that was introduced under Labour was a whipped vote, I personally don’t think this is something that should be subject to a great free-for-all because we’re not asking people to make a decision of conscience about religion."
Update: The Coalition for Equal Marriage has pointed me towards three other Labour MPs who oppose gay marriage: Brian Donohoe, Paul Murphy, and Stephen Pound.
- LONDON — The pragmatic Dutch should be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about.
A decade after the Netherlands legalized marriage for same-sex couples with a minimum of brouhaha, the issue has spurred a fierce and emotional debate in two other European countries, France and Britain.
The disputes focus on plans by the Socialist government in France and the Conservative-led government in Britain to introduce legislation next year that would allow same-sex marriage.
The British government announced its proposals on Tuesday with a compromise that left both sides of the debate unhappy.
The proposed law specifically excludes the established Anglican churches of England and Wales by forbidding them from marrying same-sex couples, while other faith groups such as Quakers and liberal Reform Jews would be allowed to opt into the system.
That is intended to protect a reluctant Anglican Church from being forced into performing gay marriage ceremonies. But it added to what gay and equal rights activists described as the muddle surrounding law reform.
Peter Tatchell, a veteran gay rights activist, told Pink News that the Conservative proposals actually discriminated against heterosexual couples by denying them the right to a civil partnership, the so-called “marriage lite” that has been available to gay couples in Britain since 2004.
The proposed British compromise looked unlikely to quell opposition within Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party from those who reject the concept of same-sex marriage on religious, social or moral grounds.
The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party has threatened to exploit divisions which it said threatened to rip apart the Conservatives’ traditional rural base.
“We feel the prime minister’s proposals will present an affront to millions of people in this country for whom this will be the final straw,” Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, told The Guardian.
Mr. Farage may be exaggerating the extent of opposition in a country where opinion polls show a majority in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. But, as in France, the opposition is certainly noisy.Anti-gay marriage groups staged demonstrations across France in October and November that attracted an estimated 100,000 people. The ruling Socialist Party has decided to fight back by throwing its support behind a counter-demonstration due to take place in Paris this weekend.
Romain Burrell, a journalist for a French gay magazine, wrote in The Guardian, “It’s quite simple. The ongoing same-sex marriage debate sparked a renewed wave of homophobia in France.”
He lamented that the opposition conservative U.M.P. had thrown its weight behind the anti-gay marriage campaign.
The Netherlands, meanwhile, appears to have survived unscathed from 11 years of same-sex marriage.
My colleague Celestine Bohlen, in a report from Amsterdam last week, cited polls that showed support for same-sex marriage increased by 20 points to 82 percent in the five years after the Dutch law was introduced.
As Celestine wrote, “Gay or straight, married, divorced, single or cohabiting, the Dutch — like many other Europeans — have been quietly rearranging their family structures over the past decade.”
- The UK is losing its mind over the same-sex marriage proposal. The opposition is fierce and flexing.
- Uruguay will legalize gay marriage in early 2013.
- What next in New Zealand? How long does it take for the second vote?
- Gay marriage: poll shows backing in Lords for postponement
Expectations that same-sex marriage could be defeated in the House of Lords are growing after the first poll of peers on the subject showed strong support for shelving the move.
By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor
6:30AM GMT 08 Jan 2013
Almost six out of 10 members of the Lords polled said that the Coalition should call a halt to its plans to change the marriage laws until it becomes clearer whether there is broad public support.
It comes amid accusations from senior churchmen that the Coalition’s official consultation on same-sex marriage was a “sham”.
Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary disclosed to the Commons last month that just under 53 per cent of responses to the online listening exercise were in favour.
But that figure discounts the views of more than half a million opponents who signed online petitions.
The polling also showed strong objections in both houses to the prospect of the Government invoking rarely-used parliamentary powers to change the law without the support of the House of Lords.
The Coalition is due to publish it equal marriage bill in the next few weeks.
It is likely to pass the Commons despite an expected rebellion by more than 130 Tory MPs but the outcome of a vote in the Lords is far less clear.
A ComRes poll of peers carried out for the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), which campaigns against the change, found that 56 per cent agreed with the statement that the Government should “not proceed” with the changes if the consultation does not show “broad support”.
When asked whether the measure should simply be shelved until after the next election irrespective of the consultation outcome opinion was finely balanced with 46 per cent in favour and 49 per cent against.
Three quarters of Conservative peers and 67 per cent of cross-benchers polled favoured a pause but only 15 per cent of Liberal Democrats did so.
Meanwhile a separate poll of MPs found that two thirds of members of the Commons are to opposed to using Parliament Act to get the legislation through if it is blocked in the Lords.
Nicknamed the “nuclear option” of Parliamentary procedure, the Act has been used only a handful of times in the last century.
Among peers opposition to using the Parliament Act ran at 74 per cent.
Colin hart, campaign director for the C4M said: “Mr Cameron should realise that trying to ram through this policy in a desperate bid appear trendy and progressive is not fooling anyone.
“Ordinary people want him to stop meddling with the institution of marriage and get on with fixing Britain’s flatlining economy.
“After all that’s why he was elected.
“Day by day the case for holding a referendum on this issue grows.
“If Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg believe this policy is both the right thing to do and popular why do they not trust the British people and let them have their say?”
- R202 Not surprised. What do you expect from Backwards Britain? Instead of worrying about all the drunks and chavs running around ruining their country, they're more concerned about preventing everyone from having equal rights. Nice. They're so behind compared to other countries in Europe.
- The UK is not alone. The anti-equality movement in France is really flexing its muscles. Prospects for equality in Australia are dead on arrival. Uruguay's Senate has postponed a vote on equality until April, although it seemed like they would make it legal by the end of 2012.
- The UK and France really are shoring out over marriage equality. The Progay sides in both countries seem very lethargic and lax about challenging the opposition. At least in the US, you would have pro-equality matches and grassroots pushback. Where are Progay clergy in those countries? All the religious voices seem to antigay in those countries.
- Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti, who is running for re-election in February, has rejected same-sex marriage.
Interviewed by SkyTg 24, Monti explained: ‘I think that a family is only made of a man and a woman. Children should grow with a father and a mother.’
But he indicated he was in favor of giving same-sex partners some of the rights and responsibilities of married heterosexuals.
‘A parliament could find good solutions for civil partnerships or civil unions. But we can not call them “families”,’ he said.
Monti’s words have been criticized by LGBT associations in Italy who have accused him of putting his Christianity ahead of gay citizens.
His comments came on the same day Alessio De Giorgi, entrepreneur and founder of leading LGBT website Gay.it, quit the general electoral race.
De Giorgi was running with Monti’s right of center party to become a Member of Parliament for the Tuscany region. But he resigned after a campaign led by a right-wing newspaper which published pictures of him partying with drag queens.
The entrepreneur said: ‘I’ve been at the center of a real defamation strategy.’
De Giorgi also claimed he was a victim of the political circus. Yesterday a famous radio program reported that the Tuscan entrepreneur owns two gay porn websites. In fact, he has shares in the sites but is not the sole owner.
Italian LGBT politicians and candidates in the general election race – Anna Paola Concia, Ivan Scalfarotto, Sergio Lo Giudice and Alessandro Zan – have confirmed their solidarity for De Giorgi.
- PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The fate of gay marriage legislation in Rhode Island could hinge on the exemptions it affords religious groups that oppose it, the state Senate president said Friday, a day after the House overwhelmingly passed the bill.
Teresa Paiva Weed said she remains opposed to the bill and has heard that the sticking point for many senators is on how broad of a religious exemption is included in the only New England state that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage.
The Newport Democrat said she doesn’t want to fast-track the legislation and promised a “full and fair debate” on what she said is a personal and emotional issue for many lawmakers. She made the comments during a taping of WJAR-TV’s “10 News Conference.”
She said she doesn’t know whether there’s enough support in the Senate to pass the legislation, which would make Rhode Island the 10th state to allow gay marriage.
“The debate and the discussion in the Senate will be very real, and neither I nor anybody else ... really knows what the final outcome of that will be,” she said.
Paiva Weed said several senators have told her they want a more expansive religious exemption to protect religious leaders, churches, religious charities and organizations that do not support same-sex marriage.
In legislative testimony, a lobbyist for the Roman Catholic Church raised concerns that Catholic schools and charitable organizations could be forced to change employee benefit policies if compelled to recognize the same-sex spouses of employees.
The bill passed by the House states that religious institutions may set their own rules for who is eligible to marry within their faith and specifies that no religious leader can be forced to officiate at any marriage ceremony.
Paiva Weed said she has instructed her legal advisers to compare Rhode Island legislation’s religious exemption to those written into gay marriage laws in Maine, Washington state, New York and Maryland.
It’s likely to be weeks or even months before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings and a vote on the legislation. That’s in stark contrast to the House, where House Speaker Gordon Fox followed through on his promise to hold a vote on gay marriage before the end of January.
Fox, a Providence Democrat, is gay. He dropped gay marriage legislation two years ago when he concluded it would not pass the Senate. Following Thursday night’s 51-19 vote in favor of the legislation, Fox said he trusts the Senate to weigh the merits of the bill and dismissed concerns from some gay marriage supporters that Paiva Weed would use the issue in political horse-trading that often occurs at the end of the legislative session.
“I’m used to that kind of stuff,” he said.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who supports gay marriage, urged the Senate to act on the legislation. The governor, an independent, argues that gay marriage is an issue of civil rights and the state’s quality of life, and that Rhode Island is at a competitive disadvantage to other New England states that allow it.
“Now that the House has swiftly acted, I urge Senate leadership to ‘call the roll’ — for our economy, for our gay and lesbian friends and neighbors, and for history,” he said in a statement.
Some opponents have suggested placing gay marriage on the ballot as a referendum, but the idea is a nonstarter with Fox and Chafee.
Smith reported from Cranston, R.I.
WARSAW | Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:08am EST
(Reuters) - Poland's parliament defeated draft laws on Friday that would have given limited legal rights to homosexual couples, a setback for liberals trying to challenge conservative moral attitudes in the devoutly Catholic country.
Poland has been grappling with issues such as gay rights, abortion, legalization of soft drugs and the role of the church in public life as younger Poles seeking a more secular society clash with a deeply religious older generation.
The lower house of parliament rejected three bills that would have legalized civil unions, including narrowly defeating one proposed by a member of the ruling Civic Platform that would have given limited rights to unmarried partners, including ability to inherit property.
The motion to prevent the Civic Platform bill from going to committees for further work was backed by 228 deputies, with 211 against.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke out in favor of the reform, but 46 members of his own party, including Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin, sided with the conservative opposition and voted against all three bills on their first reading.
"You can't question the existence of such people (living in homosexual partnerships) and you can't argue against the people who decide to live in such way," Tusk told the parliament before the votes.
Robert Biedron, Poland's first openly gay deputy who had proposed the most comprehensive of the three rejected bills, vowed to continue leading the efforts to give legal rights to unmarried partners, both same-sex and heterosexual.
"Changes are coming," Biedron told Reuters television. "More and more people see that maybe there is injustice in treating people that live in unregistered partnerships and who cannot solve their fundamental problems, everyday problems."
Even though a growing number of governments around the world have given at least some rights to homosexual couples, many church leaders and conservative politicians have argued that such moves could undermine the institution of marriage.
Earlier in January, the Catholic Church backed protests against plans to legalize same-sex marriage in France.
Many Polish opponents of state recognition for same-sex partnerships say it is wrong to encourage unions that cannot produce children, and so do nothing to fix the country's declining population.
"Are sexual ties the only reason why society should finance a barren existence?" said Krystyna Pawlowicz of the opposition Law and Justice party, "Society cannot finance structures and institutions, which do not allow for society to last."
(Reporting by Chris Borowski and Marcin Goettig)
- No Country for Hissing Eldergays
- Fuck Poland. It's a shithole anyway.
- FOUR Cabinet ministers and up to 200 more Tory MPs are set to defy David Cameron in a mass revolt over gay marriage.
The PM fuelled their anger this weekend by killing any hope of a tax break for married couples in next month’s Budget.
The PM’s allies now fear the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times when MPs vote whether to back Mr Cameron on gay marriage on Tuesday.
Tory insiders say Cabinet ministers expected to defy the PM by voting against or abstaining are Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Welsh Secretary David Jones.
The number of rebel Tory MPs could hit between 160 and 200 – more than half the 303 Tory MPs – in a huge blow for Mr Cameron’s authority and leadership.
The PM’s support for same-sex marriage has been a key factor in accelerating the drift of thousands of Tory voters towards the UK Independence Party, say pollsters.
MPs will get a “free vote” on the issue of letting religious groups carry out same-sex weddings and vote according to their consciences and not party orders. The planned law is certain to get the backing of MPs because of strong support from Labour and Lib Dem members.
Tory MPs are furious with the PM for supporting gay marriage while postponing his pledge to give married couples a tax break worth about £150 a year. Tory MP Stewart Jackson said yesterday: “I wonder who’s advising him? His political strategy – No to marriage tax breaks and Yes to gay marriage – stinks.”
Divisions over same-sex marriage could cost the Tories the 2015 general election, said one poll.
One in five voters who supported the party in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again if the Government presses ahead with the change.
The Church of England has urged the Government not to support gay marriage but gay Tory MP Nick Herbert warned Tories risked the same fate as defeated Republicans in the US by “failing to see society has changed”.
- LONDON | Sun Feb 3, 2013 9:30am EST
(Reuters) - Members of British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party urged him on Sunday to delay a parliamentary vote this week on gay marriage, warning the issue could weaken the party and harm his chances of re-election.
Cameron has pledged his personal support for a gay marriage bill but many in his party and among his legislators oppose it on moral grounds and say the government has no mandate to push it through parliament.
As the bill is supported by Britain's two other main parties, opposition Labor and Conservative coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, it is in no danger of being defeated.
But a letter signed by 25 past and present chairmen of local Conservative associations was handed in to Cameron's Downing Street residence on Sunday afternoon by six of the signatories.
"We feel very strongly that the decision to bring this bill before parliament has been made without adequate debate or consultation with either the membership of the Conservative Party or with the country at large," the letter said.
It added: "Resignations from the party are beginning to multiply and we fear that, if enacted, this bill will lead to significant damage to the Conservative Party in the run-up to the 2015 election."
One Conservative association leader, Geoffrey Vero, said Cameron should have taken the issue more slowly.
"I think a number of Conservative supporters and voters will sit on their hands on the issue and that may well seriously affect David's opportunity to get re-elected in 2015," he told Sky TV.
"We think that is a dangerous risk to take with your core supporters."
The proposals, due to come into effect in England and Wales in 2014, will also allow civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and enable married people to change their legal gender without having to end their union.
Usual rules requiring loyalty to the party line have been lifted for Tuesday's so-called "free" vote and political analysts say as many as half of the 303 Conservative MPs might vote against the bill or abstain.
The issue has sparked heated debate in Britain, particularly among faith groups, but 55 percent of British people support same-sex marriage, according to a YouGov poll in December.
YouGov President Peter Kellner said he did not believe gay marriage would figure prominently in the next election.
"It's not a big issue for the public but it could hit the reputation of the Conservative Party," he told BBC radio. "Cameron is signaling the modernity of the Conservatives but the public will see a divided party."
Gay marriage supporters say that while the existing civil partnerships for same-sex couples give the same legal rights as marriage, the distinction implies that they are inferior.
Cameron himself said two months ago: "I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution."
But the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are both strongly opposed and the bill will not force them to conduct gay marriages.
Other religious groups, such as Quakers and liberal Jewish groups, could choose to marry gays, but under the proposals no individual minister would be compelled to wed a same-sex couple.
After the expected approval in the Commons on Tuesday, the bill will move to parliament's upper house, the House of Lords, which is expected to vote on it in May before the bill returns to the Commons for a second vote.
- Tories ripped apart by gay marriage vote
Tories ripped apart by gay marriage vote
A full scale revolt by Conservative MPs against David Cameron’s plans to introduce same-sex marriage became clear on Saturday.
We understand that the The Sunday Telegraph has established around 180 Conservative MPs, most notably including six whips and up to four members of the Cabinet, are ready to defy the Prime Minister’s plan to legalise gay weddings.
Also 25 chairmen or former chairmen of Conservative party associations across the country have signed a letter to Mr Cameron warning that the policy will cause “significant damage” to the Tories’ 2015 general election campaign.
One chairman, who has quit over the issue, said “this is a policy dreamt up in Notting Hill”, while a serving chairman said it had angered the grassroots more than Europe.
The vote on Tuesday is the first parliamentary vote on the gay marriage legislation and a test for the Prime Minister. However Downing Street now expects that only around 120 of Mr Cameron’s MPs will vote in favour of legalising homosexual unions. This leaves around 180 Conservative members likely to abstain or vote against. They include:
Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, and David Jones, the Welsh Secretary, both expected to vote against.
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, who will either vote against or abstain, while Iain Duncan Smith is expected to abstain, although a source close to the welfare secretary suggested that it was still possible he may side with the Government.
At least half of the Tories’ 12-man whips’ office, relied on by Mr Cameron to enforce party discipline. They are Stephen Crabb, David Evennett, Robert Goodwill, Mark Lancaster, Nicky Morgan and John Randall.
Senior party members including Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Liam Fox and Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, who will not back the Bill.
- Britain won't have gay marriage. They're a backwards shithole. Not even close to being the liberal place people think it is. Plus the gay movement over there is lazy and doesn't fight like in France or the US.
- Might be an idea to post the Guardian's link while you are at it news spam person. The right wingers are in a tizzy because the vote is going to pass easily.
- R214 I think you will find they will. The vote will go ahead and the bill will pass. There is 62% support for the bill, only 31% opposed and 9% don't knows. Among the under 45s it is around 75% in support of marriage equality. Cameron has his head screwed on. This is minor issue for most people and it is not something that will much affect the election results.
- Wasting your time, R216. R214 will abuse Britain whatever the actual facts.
- In fact just reading voting predictions and it looks like it will pass through the commons by a landslide. Only 15 out of Labours 257 MPs plan to vote against the bill, I believe only 1 or 2 Lib Dem MPs will vote against out or their 57. It is thought that only 130 Tories despite claims in the press will oppose the bill. I would expect some abstentions but I would say at least 150 of their 303 MPs will vote in favour. This means 400+ minimum will vote in favour as some will not be in the house for the vote. An easy win.
- What's with the Church of England being so backwards that they reject female bishops, while a woman runs the Episcopal Church in the USA?
- Because they are idiots. The Church of Ireland will likely elect a woman bishop fairly soon. The Church of England just needs to wait ten years for a bunch of the old bishops to kick the bucket and then things should change.
- R220, as a matter of actual, easily verifiable fact, the bishops voted in favour of women bishops, as did the house of clergy - it was the lay element that stopped it.
- R221 You are quite right and I should have known that. I think I was too caught up in the argument against marriage equality to check for the facts. The same argument goes really. Another 10 years and things should change.
- I'm not in sympathy with the Church of England on this one, but they do perceive themselves as torn between the demands of the Anglican community in English-speaking lands (where church membership is shrinking) and the demands of the community in developing countries (where it is rapidly growing). Their balancing act seems to me doomed, but I can at least see where their caution is coming from.
- The Progay side in the UK is pathetic at activism. Even the Progay French finally rose up to counter the antigay forces.
- Recent tallies indicate the Lords will kill it.
- R223 you seem to confuse the Church of England - that represents only England - with the worldwide Anglican communion, headed by the Archbish.
Okay, so what's the problem with the laity over there? Is it so dominated by a bunch of cranky seniors that they get a majority vote?
- The Episcopal Church USA is essentially one of the most liberal denominations in the history of Christianity. A mass exodus of conservative, evangelical, charismatic, and moderate Christians from the Episcopal church has left the remaining church very liberal. As such, the church doesn't generally practice a biblically-centric faith. In contrast, the Church of England today consists of large numbers of evangelicals and conservatives who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Moreover, large numbers of Asian and African evangelical immigrants have made the CoE even more evangelical.
- R225 the Lords cannot kill it. at best they can delay things a little but if the government want it passed they can do it without the involvement of the Lords.
- Yes, r228, but the government has to affirMstiveky vote to override the Lords, which is something that it dislikes doing.
- The UK must not have the Christian diversity of the US. In the US, you have Lutherans, Methodists, United Church of Christ, Episcopalians, nondenominational sets, even some Baptists speaking up for marriage equality. The UK seems to be all about what the Church of England and a few Muslims think.
- They've done it before and will do it again but if the bill passes by a landslide in the commons which it probably will the likelihood id the Lords will pass it anyway. they may hold things up a little with a few amendments and sending it back for second and third readings but ultimately it will pass one way or another. You seem annoyed that this will happen for some reason. And please retype the typo as I haven't a clue what it was. I understood what you meant from context.
- France approved the extension of marriage to same sex couples today
- France votes Feb 12
- ***BREAKING: CNN NEWS ALERT***
A large majority in the British House of Commons on Tuesday voted to support a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.
In a 400-175 vote, members of Parliament backed the second reading of legislation that would, as drafted, enable religious organizations to conduct same-sex marriages if they wish.
The bill will be up for further debate in the House of Commons. In order to become law, it has to clear further parliamentary hurdles, including a vote in the House of Lords.
- With historic votes in favour of marriage equality in the French and British parliaments in the last week, more countries are moving to give gay and lesbian citizens the same rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. And it's about time.
Eleven countries already allow same sex marriage, as well as a number of state and city governments. On top of the victories in Britain and France, the prospects are also strong for Uruguay and New Zealand to give marriage equality the tick this year.
But why stop there? What other countries can we turn rainbow this year? Let us know what other countries we should be colouring on this map, and we'll update it as more information comes in:
- I was hoping here in Australia we could use the momentum of the likely victories in the UK and France to get enough support to pass a reintroduced bill. Unfortunately this is unlikely to happen prior to September, which is when the election will take place and where all signs point to the conservative party winning back power by a landslide. This will probably set the cause back a few years unfortunately.
- UK Tories are threatening to mess up marriage equality in committee and in the Lords. They say the fact that most Tories who voted, voted against equality will embolden mischief in the Lords.
- On Tuesday a huge majority of MPs lent their support to gay marriage. However those campaigning against the Bill admit only that they lost that battle, not the war.
Following the 400 to 175 Commons vote, several overseas news organisations including CNN and Al Jazeera were quick to report that Britain had made it legal for gay people to marry. But the Bill is still a bill. And is not yet law.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will next be examined line by line by a committee of MPs. Opponents, including the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) campaign group, hope to regroup after the second reading retreat and substantially change the legislation at this stage with a view to eventually killing it.
"Tuesday was Dunkirk," a C4M spokesman told the Huffington Post UK. "There will be lots of amendments given the strength of the rebellion."
The cross-party committee, which includes many pro-gay marriage MPs such as Labour’s Chris Bryant and shadow equalities minister Kate Green, also includes leading anti-gay marriage Conservatives David Burrowes and Tim Loughton.
Green expects MPs to offer amendments designed to ensure the European Court can not force a religious body to conduct a same-sex marriage and to allow teachers to refuse to teach gay marriage if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. But she is also wary of anti-gay marriage MPs attempting to blow the Bill up in committee.
"There is real danger of people looking for an opportunity wreck it," she told HuffPost UK.
And Lib Dem Julian Huppert, who is supporting an amendment to expand civil partnerships to include mixed-sex couples, says he expects many "dinosaur" Tories to try and wreck the Bill.
Civil partnerships for heterosexual couples is also being pushed by some anti-gay marriage MPs. But this is seen as an attempt by them to restrict marriage to religious ceremonies while the state just conducts civil partnerships.
"What we want is equality, marriage should be open to people regardless of their gender," Huppert said. "Some old school Tories are mostly trying to cause trouble and wanttot do things from stop marriages from happening."
Opponents of the Bill are also hopeful it will get bogged down in the House of Lords if it gets out of the Commons.
However as Paul Waugh at Politics Home and Isabel Hardman at the Spectator have pointed out, the arithmetic and experience of past votes appear to scupper the notion that the red benches are stuffed with anti-gay peers.
The 221 Labour peers and 90 Lib Dems combined easily outnumber the 213 Conservatives, even if all the Tories decided to vote against the Bill. Labour expects the dissent on its benches in the Lords to be small, similar to that in the Commons, where 22 Labour MPs voted against the Bill. Throw in the majority of the 178 cross bench peers and there appears to be a progressive majority in the upper House.
But C4M questions how well the Labour and Lib Dem leaderships know the minds of their own peers – expecting their Lordships to take issue with the quality of the legislation as well as the principle of gay marriage. "It is rushed legislation that is full of holes," a spokesperson said.
If last Tuesday was Dunkirk, anti-gay marriage MPs, peers and campaign groups see next Tuesday, the first day of committee stage, as D-Day.
- Homosexuals cant be married...its an oxymoron...end of!! Just be happy that you are permitted to have a civil ceremony! How exactly do homesexuals intend to consummate a marriage??? I wasnt aware anal sex produced offspring, the anus only produces faeces!!
- Lesbians have vaginas, idiot at r240.
- Uruguay's Senate seems to have gotten cold feet
- Wow, trolldar R239 and you get a sea of yellow, mostly being alarmist and giving publicity to the anti-gay voices.
- R242, Urguay will vote on the issue in April. It's very likely they'll vote yes though, since they have a majority that supports the bill. I think this was just a stall from the bigots, but it doesn't matter, because it will go through in April anyway.
[quote]During the vote in the Senate, opponents asked for the vote to be postponed until the Senate's first meeting in April to allow more time ‘to study the proposal’.
[quote]All present Senators (26) voted unanimously to postpone the vote to April, reported the daily Ultima Hora.
[quote]The bill already received an overwhelming majority in the country's lower house of Congress 11 December by 81-6 votes.
- The Vatican. Benny and George will be first couple to marry.
- Opponents of a law change to allow same-sex marriage are stepping up their campaign, targeting MPs they feel may change their vote at the bill's next hurdle.
Conservative lobby group Family First has published 100,000 leaflets which list the arguments against the passing of Labour MP Louisa Wall's private member's bill.
They also list politicians who have voted inconsistently on legislation which affected marriage or had spoken against gay marriage.
Director Bob McCoskrie said the pamphlet aimed to empower opponents of the bill and highlight that many politicians could turn against it after the select committee stage.
"This is really the third time they have voted on marriage, or redefining marriage, so to speak. Within the National Party it appears they voted a particular way and now they're voting differently."
He said the party was having an "identity crisis" on the bill, which was decided by a personal vote, while all other parties were mostly united in their support or opposition.
The six-page pamphlet showed that many MPs had backed gay marriage after previously voting against civil unions in 2004 or a private member's bill which aimed to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The same-sex marriage bill passed its first reading in August by a 2-to-1 margin, meaning it was almost certain to pass into law.
Nine MPs told the Herald last year their support extended only as far as the first reading and they would reconsider their vote depending on submissions to the select committee.
Twenty-one MPs would have to change their mind at the second or third reading for the legislation to be scrapped. The select committee is expected to report at the end of this month.
Up close and personal at Big Gay Out
Prime Minister John Key wasn't afraid to get among it all at the Big Gay Out in Auckland and was more than happy to accept the odd kiss on the cheek.
Mr Key again made an appearance at the event, held at Coyle Park in Pt Chevalier.
The event has become increasingly popular over the years, attracting around 15,000 people last year.
Yesterday's event was no different, drawing thousands of people in celebration of being gay.
Labour leader David Shearer was also there and was seen chatting to television presenter Alison Mau, who became engaged to girlfriend Karleen Edmonds early last year.
The event is hosted by Get it On!, the New Zealand Aids Foundation's HIV prevention program.
Changing their tune
MPs who voted against Civil Union Bill (2004) but for Marriage Equality (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill (2012):
* Gerry Brownlee (National)
* David Carter (National)
* Judith Collins (National)
* Paul Hutchison (National)
* John Key (National)
* Murray McCully (National)
* Maurice Williamson (National)
* Clayton Cosgrove (Labour)
* Tariana Turia (Maori)
(Source: Family First)
- Sadly, I also agree that Australia will drag it out for a long time. The Prime Minister - Ju-liar Gil-liar, doesn't believe in any form of marriage ( she lives with her bf without benefit of a ceremony, 'cos she also is an atheist)
My partner and I came to Oz from the UK over 25 years ago ( we are 35 years together next week) and don't recognise the country a few of the posters describe. We do not find it any more homophobic than UK or US. There are idiots here, of course, but honestly, we are fairly sane, intelligent people, and love Australia.
- Any chance Labor will replace Gilliard?
- Does Gilliard actually believe this crap or was it just some nonsense she felt she had to say? Even Cameron and Obama were "against" same-sex marriage at one point. Can't she now claim her views have "evolved"?
- There's no doubt in my mind that, privately, Gillard couldn't give a fuck if gays were allowed to get married. Its been said that she had to make several assurances to the Right faction in exchange for their support when she toppled Rudd, one of which was to oppose gay marriage. As soon as she's out of office, I predict a miraculous "evolution" in her views.
- The thing about Uruguay is that once it passed the Assembly, all media and the public thought it was gonna be quickly rubber=stamped by the Senate before New Year's Day. THere was no rumbling of an antigay movement to stop it in the Senate. It seemed to be sailing to passage. There was no talk of stalling or postponing the vote in the Senate. The media reported that passage by the Senate by New Year's was almost guaranteed. It is a little disconcerting that the antigay side was able to delay it with a stealth maneuver.
- [quote]Does Gilliard actually believe this crap or was it just some nonsense she felt she had to say? Even Cameron and Obama were "against" same-sex marriage at one point. Can't she now claim her views have "evolved"?
I suspect she personally has no strong feelings one way or the other. She is frightened that her fundamentalist Christian and Moslem support will evaporate and every vote counts. This is the only reason for her current anti-gay marriage position.
At least she did allow a concious vote when this was last voted on in the parliament. Tony Abbott did not allow a conscious vote, therefore the bill was bound not to succeed.
After the Labor party is defeated I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see her change her stance but too late ! The idiot woman should push gay marriage through now while she still has the chance. Then she could point to at least one long lasting achievement.
- Gilliard is a mess
- [quote]Gilliard is a mess
All of Australia is when it comes to gay rights.
The move to legalise gay marriage in New Zealand is a step closer after it passed the select committee process.
Parliament's government administration select committee has sent The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill for its second reading.
Sponsor of the bill, Labour MP Louisa Wall, says it's a big step for the supporters of same-sex marriage.
'This is another important milestone towards achieving a fairer more equal New Zealand,' she said on Wednesday.
'Marriage equality is about fairness and choice. This process has showed that message has really resonated with New Zealanders and has been echoed overseas with the recent passage of similar legislation in the UK,' she said.
But lobby group Family First says the fact there were 21,533 submissions shows it's an issue that divides the country.
It accused political parties of trying to ram the bill through.
'It is a major change to an important human institution and foundation of our society, and in a healthy democracy, the people are entitled to speak and deserve to be heard in full. It should not be rushed, and democracy should not be denied,' said national director Bob McCoskrie.
'This is a cynical attempt to ram through a highly controversial law change without due consideration.'
The select committee recommends an amendment to the bill to protect the religious beliefs of celebrants and organisations.
The second reading of the bill will be on March 13.
- Not Finland. Their Parliament just voted down marriage equality proposal.
- [quote]Not Finland. Their Parliament just voted down marriage equality proposal.
Finland should feel like a joke. They're the only Scandinavian country that doesn't have gay marriage.
- German government will not support wider rights for same-sex couples before election.
- Is Finland Scandanavian?
- Over 80% of Russians Oppose Same Sex Marriage and Gay Parades
12 March 2013 | Issue 5085
The Moscow Times
Homophobic attitudes are widespread in Russia and fewer people appear tolerant of homosexuality than eight years ago, a survey released Tuesday said.
Eighty-five percent of respondents surveyed by the Levada Center said they opposed same sex marriages in Russia and 87 percent said they did not want gay parades to take place in Russian cities, Interfax reported.
The survey showed that 23 percent of respondents felt gay people should be left alone, while 27 percent said they needed psychological help.
Another 16 percent suggested that gays be isolated from society, 22 percent insisted on compulsory treatment, and 5 percent said homosexuals should be "liquidated."
Over the past eight years, the number of Russians who believe gay and lesbians should be left "to themselves" has declined by 7 percent, while the percentage of Russians who think homosexuals should receive treatment has climbed 5 percent. The percentage of those who believe homosexuals should be isolated from society has also increased 4 percent.
In response to the question, "What is your personal feeling toward gay and lesbians?" 50 percent of respondents said they felt irritation and disgust, another 18 said they felt a sense of alertness and 4 percent that homosexuals evoked a positive response.
Eighty percent of respondents opposed granting the right to adopt children to same sex couples, while 5 percent said they had no objections.
The majority of those surveyed (89 percent) said they had no homosexual friends or relatives.
The survey was conducted in February among 1,600 residents in over 130 cities in 45 regions across Russia. Although no margin of error was cited, Levada Center surveys usually have a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.
The Moscow Times
- the Fins have presented a petition that will force the Parliament to consider the marriage equality bill.
- That's great, R262.. only four years after Norway and Sweden
- No, R260, Finland is not Scandinavian. It is Nordic, along with Iceland.
- Scandinavia is ONLY Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
- [quote]Over 80% of Russians Oppose Same Sex Marriage and Gay Parades
WOW! What a SHITHOLE, backwards country! 80%??? That seriously shows they're living in another time. I hope gay people are stupid enough to travel there and waste their travel dollars in that shithole.
- Finland is much more conservative than other Nordic countries with many more religious conservatives.
- New Zealand has just passed gay marriage I believe.
- New Zealand has not made it law yet, they just approved it at one of several stages. It next goes to a third reading with Parliament.
- The Russians and the Poles have a problem. During the Soviet period their churches were repressed - hundreds of thousands were killed or imprisoned. Now the Orthodox church and the Catholic church are back in power and their nuts are in control. It will take time for them to evolve, maybe ten years. Poland will go faster. Be patient.
- Who gives a shit?
- This is a gay board, R271.
Most of us give more than a shit.
France will vote April 2 and will be next.
- I'll wager the USA will get it ( at least at a Federal level) far quicker than anyone might think. It'll take forever if it has to go state by state.
- A French Senate Committee voted on it yesterday and approved it. Now it goes to the Senate floor within 14 days from today.
- After France it's most likely Uruguay, at least I hope it is.
- There will be one last attempt to derail marriage equality on Sunday in France when a large anti-gay marriage will be held.
- Russia's hysteria on this issue is due to population loss. The country peaked at 149 million in 1991 and then fell to 143 million. For ten years from 1999-2009 Russia had apocalyptic population projections of decline, which led them to do all sorts of things to boost the birth rate (since they weren't doing anything to cut the death rate by cutting alcohol consumption, which some say accounts for 52% of all male deaths). One of these things was a campaign of villification aimed at gay people.
- I hope the months' delay in the Uruguay Senate is not a bad omen. I fear some behind-the-scene antics are killing the equality bill there.
- Why not France?
- Why do the Russians want to increase the birthrate? After Chernobyl, a lot of their babies don't turn out well.
- Uruguay Senate votes on April 10.
- Several thousand protesters marched through the streets of Paris on Sunday in a last-ditch effort to prevent France passing a bill that would allow gay couples to marry.
By News Wires (text)
Thousands of French conservatives, families and activists have converged on the capital to try to stop the country from allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.
The lower house of France’s parliament approved the “marriage for everyone” bill last month with a large majority, and it’s facing a vote in the Senate next month. Both houses are dominated by French President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party and its allies.
Sustained protests led by opposition conservatives in this traditionally Catholic country have eroded support for the draft law, and organizers hope Sunday’s protest march will weigh on the Senate debate.
Polls indicate a shrinking majority of French voters backing gay marriage, which is legal in about a dozen mostly European nations and some U.S. states.
- I thought France had already passed the law.
- Riot police fought back crowds who pushed their way on to the Champs Elysées in Paris as part of a protest against a draft law allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.
Hundreds of thousands of people – conservative activists, children, retirees, priests, many bussed in from the French provinces – converged on the capital on Sunday in a last-ditch attempt to stop the bill.
The lower house of France's parliament approved the "marriage for everyone" bill last month with a large majority, and it now faces a vote in the senate next month. Both houses are dominated by President François Hollande's Socialist party and its allies.
Sustained protests led by opposition conservatives have eroded support for the draft law in recent months, and organisers hope the march will weigh on the senate debate.
The first few hours of the protest were peaceful. But as it was meant to be winding down, about 100 youths tried to push past police barricades on to the Champs Elysées.
Police officers wrangled with the youths, firing teargas to force them back. Gaining momentum, more and more protesters took side streets to reach the avenue, blocking a key intersection on the route to the president's Elysée Palace.
Police fired more teargas but were unable to block the crowds from spilling on to the road. "Hollande, resignation!" the protesters chanted, before breaking into the French anthem, La Marseillaise.
An official with the Paris police headquarters said two people were arrested and no injuries were reported. The official estimated that 300,000 people took part in the march, slightly fewer than in a similar march in January. Organisers estimated more than 1.2 million people took part, more than in the January protest.
Polls indicate a shrinking majority of French voters back gay marriage but are less enthusiastic about adoption by same-sex couples.
Frigide Barjot, the stage name of an activist who has led protests against the bill, said the anti-gay marriage movement was not a lost cause. "It's the second round, sir. It's not the last battle.
- Opponents of marriage equality gain traction but still in minority
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 • Jeremy Muir
In the 12 years since the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise marriage equality, a global trend toward giving homosexuals full marriage rights has gained increasing momentum.
Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden have legalised same-sex marriage, as have parts of Brazil, Mexico and the United States.
Bills allowing legal recognition of same-sex marriage are in train in Andorra, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Nepal, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and New Zealand — as well as parts of Australia, Mexico and the US.
Of course, opposition to gay marriage remains fierce in many places. In 78 countries — mostly in the Muslim world and Africa — gay sex is still a crime, punishable by long jail terms and even death.
But polls across the Western world now show a majority of public opinion in favour of equality in terms of both marriage and adoption of children — and where attitudes shift, laws change.
So it is interesting to see a hardening of opposition to marriage equality — in response to a well-funded campaign against it — as New Zealand moves toward legalising gay nuptials.
A Herald DigiPoll survey earlier this month found 48 percent of people believe marriage should remain between a man and a woman — up 7.5 percentage points from a poll last June. They are still outnumbered, but only narrowly, by people who support a law change to allow same-sex couples to marry — 49.6 percent, down from 53.5 percent.
The Marriage Amendment Bill is expected to return to Parliament tomorrow for the committee stages, and could become law by next month. It passed its second reading earlier this month by 77 votes to 44 (compared to 80 to 40 at its first reading).
NZ First and some National MPs — including three Cabinet Ministers who changed their vote at the second reading — support a referendum on the issue. The new poll might help this bid, but it would only delay the inevitable.
R240 author: "Enema" how interesting
- When will the UK's House of Lords vote?
- Matrimonio gay avanza en Uruguay
Miércoles, 20 marzo 2013 13:08 Internacional
El proyecto de ley para permitir el matrimonio homosexual en Uruguay dio otro paso al frente tras ser aprobado por una comisión del Senado y a comienzos de abril será tratado por el pleno de esa cámara, informaron hoy fuentes legislativas.
La iniciativa fue aceptada este martes por la Comisión de Constitución y Legislación de la Cámara alta con los votos de los senadores oficialista y del Partido Colorado, segundo de la oposición, y la negativa de los legisladores del Partido Nacional o “Blanco” , el principal de la oposición, agregaron las fuentes.
Además, se acordó que la iniciativa sea tratada y eventualmente votada por el pleno del Senado en su reunión del 2 de abril.
Pese a ello todavía pasará tiempo antes de que el proyecto se convierta en ley porque, en caso de tener los votos necesarios en el Senado, tendrá que volver a la Cámara de Diputados debido a que el texto aprobado en esta fue modificado por los senadores.
La iniciativa, que equipara los derechos y obligaciones de los enlaces de las parejas homosexuales con los de las heterosexuales, fue aprobado el 11 de diciembre por la Cámara de Diputados por iniciativa de la gobernante coalición de izquierda Frente Amplio (FA), que tiene la mayoría en ambas cámaras.
Algunos legisladores del FA intentaron una rápida aprobación también en el Senado y lo pusieron a consideración el 26 de diciembre, pero esa premura generó una fuerte polémica en el Parlamento, incluso en la interna del oficialismo, y se acordó diferir el tratamiento hasta después de las vacaciones de verano.
El primer artículo del proyecto señala que el instituto del matrimonio “implicará la unión de dos contrayentes, cualquiera sea la identidad de género u orientación sexual de estos, en los mismos términos, con iguales efectos y formas de disolución que establece hasta el presente el Código Civil”.
Uno de los aspectos más llamativos de la norma ya aprobada por los diputados es la reglamentación sobre el orden de los apellidos que deberán llevar los hijos de las parejas homosexuales, que será acordado por ella o mediante sorteo en caso de falta de acuerdo y que alcanzará también a los matrimonios heterosexuales.
También genera controversia el derecho de los hijos a reconocer a su padre biológico en el caso de que la madre, casada con otra mujer, lo tenga en un embarazo por la relación con otro hombre, no así en el caso de que se use el método de fecundación “in vitro”, por la reserva de la identidad que se concede a los donantes de esperma.
Actualmente, la legislación uruguaya no permite el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo pero la Justicia reconoció hace algunos meses el matrimonio celebrado en 2010 en España entre un uruguayo y un español aunque posteriormente la fiscalía apeló el fallo.
- A headline screaming a “gay marriage shock” has occurred isn’t washing with the Campaign for Marriage Equality, or GLBTI New Zealanders who have spoken out today.
Today’s New Zealand Herald points to its survey showing 48 per cent of those polled said marriage should remain between a man and a woman. It says that's an increase of 7.5 percentage points from a poll last June.
The proportion of people surveyed who supported a law change fell four per cent, but still outnumbered the opponents by a small margin.
"This poll shows that even after the opposition have thrown the kitchen sink at marriage equality, the majority of kiwis still support the Bill and want to see it passed,” says Conrad Reyners from the Campaign for Marriage Equality.
"Other polls, including one commissioned by Family First, clearly show that there is majority support for the Bill.
"It’s important to remember the demographics of those polled. Youth are strongly in support of marriage equality - they know that it's not a matter of if marriage equality happens, but of when,” he says.
"The campaign is moving full steam ahead and is working on making sure the Bill is not watered down at the Committee of the House stage, and that we have another strong, bold vote at the Bill's third reading."
Reyners encourages people to contact their MPs to support the work of the select committee and ask them not to support amendments at the Committee stage that would water down equality.
The Gay Auckland Business Association agrees, saying: “This is a huge reminder not to become complacent-things may look positive but there's a vocal opposition out there.”
Some GayNZ.com readers have shared their thoughts via Facebook.
Maria Avalon says the majority should never be able to deny the rights of the minority, while Hamish Milne echoes “it's important that people understand human rights for minorities shouldn't be voted by the majority”.
Joanne Robertson says she takes poll results with a grain of salt, “however I am concerned about stupid people who are highly influenced by skewed newspaper headlines.”
Another GayNZ.com reader has written to the Herald to complain about an ensuing poll being run with the online version of the article, which they were able to vote on five times.
"The Herald has inserted itself into the political process today in an irresponsible and bias way," Stetson Blue Williams says.
In a letter to the Herald, he says “I have been following your coverage of the marriage equality debate for some time now and have finally been disgusted enough to write in. Not only do most of your headlines slant towards the opponents of equality by using polarized language such as 'gay bill' etc, but the poll you published today is the most unscientific piece of garbage imaginable.
“All one has to do is switch devices and browsers to vote as many times as you want. And since conservatives have nothing better to do than organize vast actions against vulnerable minorities, then the obvious happens. A 'poll' that is really American Idol.”
There was little fanfare in Parliament tonight as the bill to legalise gay marriage passed another hurdle, but outside more than 800 people were gathered in a two-sided protest.
Parliament's front lawn was divided in half with anti-gay marriage proponents holding a prayer vigil and sing-along on one side, and supporters waving flags and signs on the other.
The protest remained peaceful with about 500 anti-marriage equality proponents saying the Lord’s Prayer and singing along to a bag piper.
The roughly 300 supporters of the bill sang ‘‘we're going to the chapel and we're gonna get married’’ and waved signs including: ‘‘Do you really want your son to marry this dyke?’’.
Gay marriage could be legalised as early as next month after Louisa Wall’s Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its committee stages 77 votes to 43.
National minister Gerry Brownlee’s proxy vote was not cast, he dropped his support of the bill in the second reading.
Two suggestions that a referendum on the matter be held we ruled out of order, while other proposed amendments, such as allowing religious movements to preach marriage as being between a man and woman and allowing churches to refuse to host same sex marriages, were voted down.
Green MP Kevin Hague said the proposals were based on ‘‘imaginary concerns’’.
‘‘The speeches that have been heard in this House against the bill have, I am sure, been sincere; they have largely been motivated by fear, by fear of concerns that are largely imaginary, fear that has been worked up by a campaign in the community.’’
Labour MP Sua William Sio introduced several amendments aimed at strengthening religious freedoms.
‘‘My intention ... is to make appropriate distinction between the affairs of the state – protecting the equality rights of all citizens – and the affairs of a church and its members whom have a traditional view of marriage.’’
Outside, minister Margaret Mayman, of St Andrew’s on the Terrace, said she was comfortable with the safeguards that we in the bill and had turned out in support of marriage equality to show not all Christians were against it.
‘‘We support it because of our faith not in spite of our faith. I’m saddened because I think [the opposition] comes for a position of ignorance.’’
But itinerant minister Rasik Ranchord said marriage pre-dated the state and government and was not a piece of putty to be moulded into different shapes.
‘‘We want to see marriage protected. We are not against gay people we are simply protecting what we believe to be what marriage is meant to be.’’
The bill was subject to a conscience vote meaning MPs could make up their own minds on how to vote, rather than following the party line.
- By Peter Wilson, NZN Political Writer
The gay marriage bill is safely through another stage in Parliament and only needs to pass its third reading to become law.
During its committee stage this evening opponents put up a raft of amendments and all of them were heavily defeated.
The vote that gave the bill the green light for a third reading was 77-43.
A bid by NZ First leader Winston Peters to hold up the bill by forcing a referendum on gay marriage was ruled out of order on the grounds that Parliament had already decided it should proceed by passing the bill on its second reading.
Mr Peters had argued gay marriage was so divisive it shouldn't be decided by 121 MPs and warned that without a clear public mandate politicians would be targets of bitter recrimination.
Amendments that were put to a vote focused on protecting the right of celebrants to refuse to marry gay couples.The bill already carries an explicit provision protecting church celebrants and says no celebrant is obliged to conduct a gay marriage, but concerns were voiced that there could still be legal problems.
Most MPs didn't agree and the amendments were voted down.
Now the bill is through its committee stage, no further attempt can be made to change it.
The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill was drafted by Labour MP Louisa Wall and passed its first reading on a vote of 80-40.
Its majority dropped to 77-44 on its second reading and supporters think a few more MPs might change their minds before the third reading - but not enough to stop it becoming law.
As MPs debated the bill, several hundred supporters and opponents demonstrated outside Parliament.
Opponents held prayer vigils and waved placards saying "Kids need Mom and Dad" while supporters draped in rainbow flags chanted "human rights, human rights".
The third reading vote is expected to be taken in the second half of next month.
MPs are casting conscience votes on the bill, with no direction from their parties.
- What is the deadline for the UK Lords to vote?
- Gay-marriage opponents claim revolutionary mantle
By Joseph BAMAT the 28/03/2013 - 15:22
Opponents of a law legalising same-sex marriage have staged some of France's largest-ever rallies. Confronted with an obstinate government, some have adopted a more combative strategy and a new highly charged moniker: the "French Spring".
This week French news channels widely broadcast scenes of anti-riot police repelling protesters from barricades and dispersing rebellious teens along Paris’s iconic Champs-Elysées. Sunday’s clashes might have been written off as mundane in France, a country used to union strikes and left-wing activism, but this time it was religious conservatives receiving mouthfuls of pepper spray.
Confronted by a Socialist Party-led government unwilling to backtrack on its efforts to legalise marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, and polls showing the law's growing acceptance among the French, certain opponents of gay marriage are opting for a more combative tone and strategy. Some have started calling their movement the “French Spring”, referring to the regime-toppling Arab uprisings of recent years.
“We get the impression that marches gathering thousands of people were for nothing, that a petition that gathered 700,000 signatures was for nothing, and that the debate in parliament was extremely one-sided,” said Béatrice Bourges, a leader of the anti-gay marriage camp, who proudly brandishes the new label “French Spring”.
Known as the Taubira law in France, after Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, the marriage equality bill has been approved in the lower-house National Assembly and is expected to sail through the Senate next week. But opponents, a mix of traditional Catholics and far-right groups, promise to keep fighting a law they say will fundamentally weaken French society.
Sunday’s clashes broke out when some protesters attending the march against the law tried to flout a ban on demonstrating on the Champs-Elysées. They were hit with batons and doused with Mace as they tried to cross police lines. Others who succeeded in reaching the famous avenue were forcibly removed by security forces.
Somewhere amidst the disorder, the 69-year-old leader of France’s Christian Democratic Party Christine Boutin inadvertently wound up with a taste of police pepper spray, too. That event prompted a call from right-wing circles for the resignation of Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who is in charge of French police forces.
Béatrice Bourges told FRANCE 24 that a dozen lawsuits had been filed against the prefect by “victims” of the clashes, and more were likely to follow.
The making of a showdown
The invasion of the Champs-Elysées was not condoned by those who planned Sunday’s march. Participants, whom organisers claim numbered nearly one-and-a-half million (police estimates were closer to 300,000) were urged to avoid places designated as off-limits by police and to shun all violence.
“Making sure everyone is safe is an enormous responsibility, and our first priority,” Tugdual Derville, a spokesman for the anti-gay marriage camp, told FRANCE 24. He blamed the police for confining the massive rally to an inadequately small area, while admitting that “marginal” groups had allowed frustrations to get the best of them.
However, the decision to defy police orders was hardly a spontaneous reaction to overcrowding. A vocal faction of the anti-gay marriage movement, including certain high-profile leaders like Bourges and Boutin, had encouraged the idea in the week leading up to the event -- and even while tempers were spilling over on Sunday.
Judging by emails circulated among Catholic parish groups (leaked to Le Monde daily), public messages on websites, and videos posted on the Internet, it is clear that the intent of the unauthorised invasion was to occupy the Champs-Elysées, a stone’s throw away from the Elysée Palace, President François Hollande’s official residence.
A video posted on YouTube ten days before the march urged participants to “occupy” the iconic avenue, showing teens training for the crucial moment with tents and camping supplies. The clip ends with a montage of pictures from key popular movements of the 20th century, including the Egyptian revolutionaries camped in Tahrir Square in 2011 and the “Indignados” occupying Madrid’s Plaza del Sol in 2012.
“The reference to the Arab Spring comes from the shared experiences of resistance,” said Bourges, who said President Hollande had been elected democratically but was choosing to “disregard all those who disagree with him.”
A diverse group, but also divided?
The comparison between France’s energetic anti-gay marriage movement and the Arab Spring and Occupy movements were promptly dismissed by voices on both sides of the fence.
“It is clearly a false comparison and usurpation of the term. The Arab Spring and the Indignados are emancipation movements by people who want access to civil rights and liberties, ” said Thomas Coutrot, spokesman for Attac, a left-leaning NGO that backs global social movements.
“These are people who want to bar homosexuals from attaining the same rights other members of society already enjoy,” he told FRANCE 24.
Even conservatives are at odds over the term “French Spring”, and the new push toward civil disobedience appeared to be creating a schism within France’s anti-gay-marriage movement in the wake of Sunday’s clashes. Tugdual Derville said the mainstream anti-gay-marriage movement did not own up to the name.
“We’ve grown to become a very large and diverse movement. The radicalisation among some is due to the frustration, the injustice people feel when they are not respected and their opinions are cast aside,” he offered as a reason for the new, hard-line approach espoused by some of his fellow activists.
Derville said that since Sunday, Bourges had been stripped of her role as a spokesperson for the movement because she had promoted the unsanctioned move to storm the Champs-Elysées, putting the security of protesters and others at risk.
Bourges tried to play down the decision to demote her. “It doesn’t bother me. I can’t be the spokesperson of everything,” she said in reference as her new, prominent role at the head of the "French Spring".
Despite their diverging views on how to move their campaign forward, both Derville and Bourges appear to be as determined as ever. As French gay and lesbian couples begin making wedding plans, the two activists must decide if theirs is a marriage worth saving.
- The Senates of Uruguay and France may vote today,
- By PABLO FERNANDEZ — Associated Press
MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY — Uruguay's Senate on Tuesday voted to legalize gay marriage by approving a single law governing matrimony for heterosexuals and homosexuals.
Senators voted 23-8 in favor of the bill, which was passed by the lower house in December. It must now return to the lower chamber of Congress with changes.
If approved, the law would make Uruguay the second nation in Latin America and the 12th in the world to legalize gay marriage. Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in 2010.
"It goes beyond homosexuality, it's about a law where everyone shares the same rights and obligations," said Federico Grana, a lawmaker in the ruling Frente Amplio coalition and a member of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that presented the bill's first draft.
The bill lets couples, gay or straight, decide whose surname goes first when they name their children. It also clarifies rules for adoption and in-vitro fertilization, and eliminates the words "husband and woman" in marriage contracts, referring instead to the gender-neutral "contracting parties."
"This is an issue of liberty, of people's choice and justice," said Sen. Rafael Michelini.
"Liberty because the state should not meddle in who you should marry; of justice because if you marry abroad with someone of the same sex and later return to Uruguay, your marriage should be recognized."
The Roman Catholic Church opposes the proposal, but the church has little political influence in secular Uruguay, which became the first Latin American country to legalize abortion last year.
President Jose Mujica has been pushing for liberal-leaning proposals in his mandate and says he plans to sign the marriage bill into law.
Read more here:
- Ironic how Catholic countries leading the way.
- Very interesting
- Congrats to Uruguay!
- r296, Uruguay is not a majority Catholic country in practice.
- First came the militant topless feminists Femen, who are known for their outlandish, semi-naked demonstrations at Notre Dame cathedral and the famous Louvre art gallery. Now Paris is home to a rival group of bare-chested male activisits that go by the name of Hommen.
The group has emerged in the last few days in France as a new, more radical arm of France's powerful anti-gay marriage movement.
Mirroring the tactics of Femen, the masked men paint slogans on their bare chests and take to the streets to spread their message.
However that appears to be where the similarities end.
In a rare interview with The Local on Wednesday, a representative of Hommen, calling himself ‘Henri’ was scathing about Femen saying the women were "practically a terrorist group".
“They hold shocking events, and they act outside the law," he said. "They use violence and hatred – we do not. We are peaceful and determined."
“The silent majority is emerging from its silence – this is a revolution.”
Hommen staged its biggest protest so far outside Paris’ busy Saint-Lazare train station on Tuesday evening. A group of shirtless, masked men waved the tricolour and chanted outside the major rail hub in the French capital, to both applause and booing from passersby.
Their torsos painted with messages such as “Freedom”, “Protect Kids”, and “Free Speech”, some chanted “Democracy!” while others were symbolically gagged by a suited man bearing a François Hollande mask.
“At our first event, there were 20 of us. On Tuesday at Saint-Lazare, there were 30,” said Henri. “Our goal is to oppose gay marriage. The French people have expressed themselves with historic demonstrations against it, and the government’s only response has been violence,” he said, referring to the use of tear gas at protestors during a rally in the capital last month.
France’s anti-gay marriage movement has become increasingly frustrated at the French president’s refusal to hold a referendum on the question of same-sex marriage and adoption.
The French president has preferred, instead, to act through parliament, where the lower house (Assemblée Nationale) passed the gay marriage bill in February.
“The government has gagged us, and tried to prevent us from speaking, but there is a silent majority in France who oppose gay marriage. And now that majority is emerging from its silence,” said Henri.
“This is a revolution,” he added.
‘Anger is rising all over France.’
France’s anti-gay marriage movement has become increasingly angry and extremist in recent weeks and has seen more radical splinter groups like Hommen and "Le Printemps Francais" (French Spring) emerge from the more moderate, Manif Pour Tous organisation, led by French comic Frigide Barjot.
On March 26th, Socialist deputy Erwann Binet had to be evacuated under police protection from a public debate at a university in the Paris suburb of Yvelines.
A group of around 20 anti-gay marriage protestors forcibly stormed the lecture hall and put an end to the discussion, holding a banner and chanting for 30 minutes.
“This movement gets more and more radical every day,” said Henri, adding “Anger is rising all over France.”
For Henri, though, there is nothing extreme about Hommen’s tactics or beliefs.
“The fact is that we represent the majority of French people, who strongly oppose gay marriage. We don’t have names, and we don’t show our faces, because we are all the same person," he said.
- France is losing its mind over marriage equality. It is not just the sheer number of people expressing antigay sentiment now, but their level of organization and commitment to public protests are frightening. They have gotten much more media coverage than the progay side and seem to be determined to kill this bill in the Senate. Even if it passes the Senate, you can bet they will seek to overturn it with the next government or in court. The large ugly side of France is on display right now.
- En julio podría realizarse la primera boda homosexual
El Registro Civil podrá realizar el primer casamiento gay a finales de julio, según los plazos fijados en el proyecto de ley. Hay incertidumbre por el interés de las parejas homosexuales en contraer matrimonio.
Por el amplio apoyo parlamentario que tuvo el proyecto de matrimonio igualitario en el Senado se espera que se convierta en ley el próximo miércoles 10, cuando se vote en Diputados. La iniciativa establece que entrará en vigencia luego de los 90 días de promulgada y publicada en el Diario Oficial (ambos trámites pueden cumplirse en un plazo máximo 20 días).
El director del Registro Civil, Adolfo Orellano, dijo a El País que en el plazo de 90 días se pondrán en práctica una serie de medidas para poder realizar los casamientos de parejas homosexuales. "No hay que adecuar normativa, pero en la interna tenemos que adoptar una serie de procedimientos. Hoy en día fijamos la hora del matrimonio por el apellido del futuro cónyuge varón y eso ahora cambia a otra lógica que tenemos que ver cuál será".
Como el proyecto habilita a los padres a elegir el orden de los apellidos de sus hijos (el que se elija para el hermano mayor debe ser usado para los demás integrantes de la familia), el Registro creará un sistema de "alerta informática" que permita identificar cuando una pareja ya tenga registrado a un hijo con un determinado apellido. De esta forma se pretende evitar que los hijos concebidos dentro de un mismo matrimonio tengan diferentes apellidos.
"En el sistema informático del Registro aparecerá un aviso de que ya tiene un hijo anterior anotado y por ende el criterio de fijación del apellido para ese hijo rige para los posteriores", explicó Orellano.
En los últimos tiempos la tendencia a la baja en los casamientos se repite año a año. En 1975 se celebraron en Uruguay 23.310 bodas y en 2010 la cifra se redujo a 10.629 uniones, según datos del Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (INE).
Las cifras del Registro Civil sobre casamientos en Montevideo demuestra claramente la tendencia. En 2008 hubo 5.324 uniones, total que en 2009 bajó a 4.750, lo que implica que hubo 574 bodas menos.
Desde el Registro Civil se indicó que no hay elementos que pueda adelantar la demanda que pueda tener el casamiento gay en Uruguay. A nivel legislativo varios legisladores plantearon sus dudas sobre el uso que se le dará a la norma.
La senadora Constanza Moreira (Espacio 609) reconoció durante el debate parlamentario del pasado martes 2, que "probablemente la ley no tenga un uso frecuente", debido a que "el matrimonio heterosexual está disminuyendo".
En la misma línea opinó el senador Carlos Moreira (Alianza Nacional). "Se cuenta con los dedos de las dos manos el conjunto de parejas que han usado el instituto de la unión concubinaria, fueron poquísimas", dijo el legislador en referencia al escaso interés por legalizar las uniones entre personas del mismo sexo. Con estos antecedentes, Moreira dijo que no se puede prever un gran interés de contraer matrimonio por parte de parejas homosexuales.
JURISTAS. La abogada Laura Araújo, experta en derecho de familia, opinó que el proyecto de ley que habilita el matrimonio entre parejas del mismo sexo "es un mojón importante en la historia legal uruguaya y en cómo se van a considerar las uniones a partir de ahora, ya que habrá una condición de igualdad absoluta".
Araújo indicó que es difícil prever si habrá más casamientos homosexuales que uniones concubinarias, posibilidad legal que las parejas del mismo sexo tienen desde enero de 2008 y que, en los hechos, no ha sido muy utilizada.
"Desde el punto de vista cultural es mejor estar casado, por lo que es posible que nos encontremos con más casamientos que uniones concubinarias de homosexuales", dijo la experta consultada.
Araújo indicó que en los países donde se aprobó el matrimonio gay hubo un "alto número" de casamientos, por lo que "se podría pensar" que en Uruguay la situación será similar.
Por su parte, la abogada Ema Carozzi, también experta en derecho de familia, sostuvo que es factible que más allá de que la ley se apruebe, la existencia masiva de casamientos homosexuales será "una cuestión de costumbre y aceptación social en general, ya que es un tema que debe entrar en las costumbres sociales".
Carozzi dijo que aunque las parejas homosexuales no mostraron gran interés en la unión concubinaria (aunque resaltó que la "gran mayoría" de los casos aprobados son de uniones gais) es probable que el casamiento despierte mayor interés en parejas que han mantenido el tema "como reivindicativo" de la igualdad de derechos.
Desde el punto de vista técnico, Carozzi opinó que el proyecto de ley tiene "defectos técnicos importantes" y sostuvo que "si al tema se le hubiera dado un tratamiento más adecuado y no hubiera existido premura por aprobarlo, seguramente no habría problemas como los que hay ahora".
En particular, Carozzi cuestionó que se mantenga el criterio de presunción de paternidad que prevé el Código Civil para los matrimonios heterosexuales para los casamientos de parejas del mismo sexo. "Por ejemplo, en un matrimonio conformado por dos mujeres, si una de ellas está embarazada no se puede presumir que la otra señora es la progenitora jurídica", advirtió. "Esto implica agregar elementos ilógicos en los artículos que no son necesarios si lo que se quiere es aprobar el matrimonio entre parejas del mismo sexo", dijo Carozzi.
EFECTO REBOTE. Para la socióloga e investigadora Rosario Radakovich, "la institución del matrimonio está en crisis a nivel mundial, pero esta nueva legislación puede atraer a las parejas homosexuales a casarse como forma de marcar una opción diferente al resto".
La investigadora dijo que en los últimos años el matrimonio había quedado reservado "para un conjunto de personas con algún tipo de comportamiento religioso". Sin embargo, con la aprobación de esta normativa y las facilidades para adoptar ese efecto se podría revertir.
"Los puede atraer el matrimonio como forma de marcar su opción. Puede haber un comportamiento de factor rebote, pero esto es algo que se tendría que analizar de aquí a 10 años", opinó la socióloga.
Para Radakovich la aprobación del matrimonio igualitario es "un logro" en términos sociales para Uruguay, porque le garantizan más derechos a los ciudadanos. Opinó que se avanza en la inclusión de aspectos "modernos y de carácter progresista como la elección del orden de los apellidos".
"El Uruguay se había venido quedando en la historia en materia de legislación y se había distanciado de las realidades y de las condiciones de vida sociales. Por eso creo que en términos sociales esto es un gran avance", remarcó Radakovich.
A nivel cultural, la socióloga entiende que se plantea un "gran paso hacia adelante en el respeto por la identidad del otro y la diversidad".
Cambios que se vienen
CÓDIGO CIVIL VIGENTE
El artículo 83 establece la definición de matrimonio y, entre otras cosas, señala que desde el 21 de julio de 1885 en Uruguay no se considera válida ninguna unión celebrada por fuera de lo que establece el Código Civil.
El artículo 97 regula cómo se deben realizar los matrimonios (con cuatro testigos, ante un Oficial de Estado Civil) y donde cada novio dará la declaración de que "quieren ser marido y mujer".
El artículo 148 prevé las causales de separación del matrimonio. En su numeral 1° se habla de "adulterio".
El artículo 183 señala que el marido "queda siempre en la obligación" de contribuir con la manutención de su exesposa a través de una pensión.
El Código de la Niñez y la Adolescencia dice que en los casos de adopción "el hijo sustituirá su primer apellido por el del padre adoptante y el segundo apellido por el de la madre adoptante. De ser adoptado por una sola persona sustituirá solamente uno de los apellidos, siguiendo las reglas previstas en los numerales precedentes".
Hoy, para casarse, la edad mínima para la mujer es de 12 años y 14 en el hombre.
Define el matrimonio como "la unión permanente con arreglo a la ley de dos personas de distinto o igual sexo", establece el proyecto aprobado el martes por el Senado y que la próxima semana se votará en Diputados.
El proyecto mantiene las formalidades de la ceremonia, pero en el lugar de hablar de "marido y mujer" dice "cada contrayente". El texto elimina toda referencia "a marido y mujer" y siempre habla de "contrayentes" o "cónyuges".
El numeral 1° del proyecto señala: "Existe adulterio cuando se hubieran mantenido relaciones sexuales fuera del matrimonio con personas del mismo o diferente sexo".
El proyecto dice que cuando el matrimonio hubiera durado "al menos un año", el cónyuge o excónyuge debe colaborar con su ex "por un plazo igual a la duración de la vida de consuno matrimonial".
El proyecto señala que el hijo adoptado por un matrimonio heterosexual llevará primero el apellido del padre y luego el de la madre, pero los padres podrán optar por invertir el orden establecido precedentemente siempre que exista acuerdo entre ellos. El hijo dentro del matrimonio homosexual "llevará los apellidos de sus padres en el orden que ellos opten expresamente". De no haber acuerdo, se procederá a un "sorteo al momento de la inscripción, realizado por el Oficial de Estado Civil".
El proyecto prevé: "Ser cualquiera de los contrayentes menor de dieciséis años".
El País Digital
- Ireland's Constitutional Convention which will take up marriage equality convenes in a couple of days.
I am not surprised that many Catholic countries (and politicians) support marriage equality. For many Catholics in the pew (as opposed to the hierarchy), the concept of marriage isn't taken lightly. After much consideration, many of these Catholics have come around to supporting marriage equality.
Among Christian voters in the US, Catholics support marriage equality at a much higher rate than mainstream Protestants or evangelicals. Americans who are Jewish or who don't belong to a particular denomination support marriage equality in larger numbers
- Uruguay's Deputies take the final vote on April 10.
- Barring some unexpected collapse in support or vote postonement, Uruguay will be the next/12th country to legalize same-sex marriage on Wednesday.
- R301, I've always known Spain was more gay friendly, and this just proves it. Spain has had gay marriage for nearly a decade now. Gay people are generally accepted in Spain, there might be some homophobia still lingering in small villages etc, but generally it's an extremely gay friendly country, they've come far. I visited Madrid a couple of years ago, and gay couples openly kissed and held hands on the street, and this wasn't in the gayborhood either. Nobody even blinked twice. It was completely normal. And funny.. there was even a program on tv with a gay couple adopting a kid, it was really sweet. Again.. Spain is truly a wonderful country, you have to visit it if you haven't been. There's so much culture too, especially if you go to the "real" Spain, and not just those overrun tourist places. Next time I want to visit northern Spain, the Asturias, Basque country, and even Galicia. The nature in the north just looks so beautiful!
- Oh dear, the idiot at r301, etc. is back.
- I agree r306. Spain over France any day.
- [quote] I am not surprised that many Catholic countries (and politicians) support marriage equality. For many Catholics in the pew (as opposed to the hierarchy), the concept of marriage isn't taken lightly.
[quote]Among Christian voters in the US, Catholics support marriage equality at a much higher rate than mainstream Protestants or evangelicals.
I have found this in my interactions with them as well. They seem to see it as a human right and therefore preventing it is on a par as not recognising someone as fully human.
- R306, that was my experience of a 4 night visit to Madrid as well. I was really surprised. One art gallery a male gay couple were openly feeling each other up and being lovey-dovey and in the Retiro park I saw two attractive women holding hands. I rarely see this stuff in non-gay areas.
- Spain > France
- The French Senate needs to hurry up and vote. This protracted debate is not doing that country's image any favors.
- Uruguay's final vote is scheduled for today
- Uruguay is number 12.
Congress in Uruguay has voted overwhelmingly to legalise gay marriage, becoming the second country in Latin America to do so, after Argentina.
The bill was approved by more than two-thirds of the lower chamber, despite opposition from the Catholic Church.
The proposal has already been backed by the upper house. It is expected to be signed into law within two weeks.
President Jose Mujica has been championing the bill.
Despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church in Uruguay, 71 out of 92 deputies have voted in favour of the measure.
"Freedom, freedom," shouted activists who were attending the session in the Congress building in Montevideo as the result was announced.
"Same-sex couples have always existed," said Mr Mujica, a former left-wing guerrilla, in an television interview with Russia Today earlier this year.
Age of consent
The Marriage Equality Law was approved by the Senate last week by 23 votes to 8.
It allows same-sex couples to choose the order of the surnames of the children they adopt.
And it also increases the age of consent for sexual relations to 16, from the current 12 for women and 14 for men.
In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow gay members of the armed forces.
Uruguay's neighbour Argentina legalised gay marriage in 2010. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Mexico City since 2009.
In May, Brazil's Supreme Court voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.
- who gives a fuck about uruguay? seriously??
FRANCE is next, which will have an actual impact on the world
- Uruguay sounds beautiful with beaches and mountains. I give a fuck. And France is behind them.
- beaches and mountains lol again, nobody gives a fuck about that country.
France, even if it were to be the 158th country legalizing gay marriage, will provide a bigger impact and celebration of the gay community than all 157 previous countries combined.
- I think it means much more that a country like Urugay (which I suspect many people in the West would write off as a Third World backwards country suitable only for holidays), can pass a same-sex marriage bill which such overwhelming majority, than it does for France, a country often associated with liberalism, (and perhaps mistakenly so), to do the same.
And the best part is that the bill was championed by a former guerrilla!!
- You really come across as terribly unintelligent, R315/317.
- r319 must be some stupid queen for uruguay or something.
can't wait to see all of the news articles and covers tomorrow talking at lenght about marriage equality in uruguay, ALL THREE OF THEM!
- Well I do hope you'll be checking the South American magazines too, dumbass. Or does "impact" only happen in the US and Europe? I'm European, by the way.
- New Zealand is next
- OK, first of all, to the dumbass who keeps saying it didn't have an impact, I think making it to major news websites like BBC, CNN, Huffington Post, The Advocate etc. would tell you otherwise. Fuck, it even made the news here in Norway.
I also want to say that Uruguay seems like a wonderful country. If I'm not mistaken it's one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, and has a high value of life too. Their president is amazing, he donates 90 % of his monthly salary to charities. He also lives at a farm, outside of Montevideo, and drives an old car to work every day. I'll link you a video to one of his wonderful speeches. The world needs more leaders like him. And yes, with Uruguay's liberal laws, like legalization of pot, and gay marriage, it seems like a wonderful travel destination. I'd love to visit the country!
- My apologies, that was the wrong video. This is the right video, it's his speech from Rio about globalization and consumption, seriously, you need to watch this. It has English subtitles too.
- [quote]France, even if it were to be the 158th country legalizing gay marriage, will provide a bigger impact and celebration of the gay community than all 157 previous countries combined.
Um, no. France is irrelevant as a country these days, at least in terms of countries with any realistic impact on the world as a whole. Germany is the de facto leader of Europe these days, with Britain in close second. God, even Bordeaux (the wine, not the region) is passe these days.
Not sure where all the Uruguay hate is coming from. It's a lovely, through mostly rural, country, although not a standout scenery-wise compared to the rest of South America. Punta del Este in the austral summer has some of THE most beautiful people on earth; it's essentially the Hamptons for the Argentinean elite. But unlike the Hamptons, it doesn't have the horrific B&T weekenders schlepping in via jitney.
- The French senate just passed the same-sex marriage bill.
- Wonderful - thanks, R326!
- I'd like to pull the pearls out of r325's cunt and strangle her with them.
- R325 is an idiot if it thinks that Britain is any kind of leader in Europe today. France is way more important in European terms than the UK.
- Why does it have to go back to the French Assembly? I was hoping it would be over once the French Senate passed it.
- Bicameral parliaments often work that way - a bill goes to the lower house for debate first, then to the upper house for further refining, then back to the lower for official legislative completion, when it's made an act. Please don't start with more of that "it's not going to pass!" bullshit.
- I knew r330 was the French basher at replies 36 and 43 on the other thread. Get used to it, France is getting same-sex marriage and gays get beaten up in the US too.
- The Associated Press
PARIS – The French Senate voted Friday to legalize same-sex marriage in France, putting a landmark bill on track to become law by summer.
The vote in the upper house of Parliament — led by President Francois Hollande’s Socialists — comes despite boisterous protests. Opponents, mostly conservatives and fervent Roman Catholics, have sought to defend traditional marriage.
France’s justice minister, one of the bill’s loudest supporters, said the reform recognizes that many children are already living with same-sex parents and deserve the same protections afforded children of opposite-sex parents.
“These are children that scrape their knees, eat too much candy, don’t like broccoli, drive you crazy… we protect them,” Christine Taubira told senators following the vote.
The justice minister said the reform will “move our institutions towards ever more freedom, equality and personal respect.”
Both houses of Parliament will now take up a second reading to consider minor Senate changes to the bill passed in February by the National Assembly, also controlled by a Socialist-led majority.
Some conservative senators vowed to continue their opposition to the bill.
“The parliamentary process continues so we will keep talking with the French people who seem to change their position,” said UMP party senator Jean-Pierre Raffarin. “So nothing is definitive and the debate continues.”
Polls have shown a narrow majority of French support legalizing gay marriage, though that support falls when questions about adoption and conception of children come into play.
The bill would allow gay marriage and let same-sex couples adopt children. On the campaign trail last year, Hollande pledged to push through such legislation if elected.
About a dozen mostly European nations already allow gay marriage.
Opponents and supporters of the bill have staged loud demonstrations throughout the bill’s passage through Parliament. In mid-January, at least 340,000 people swarmed on the Eiffel Tower to protest the plan to legalize gay marriage, according to police estimates. Two weeks later, about 125,000 proponents of the bill marched in the capital.
French civil unions, allowed since 1999, are at least as popular among heterosexuals as among gay and lesbian couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption or assisted reproduction.
- The French government has brought forward the date for the final vote on same-sex marriage in the National Assembly to next week.
- "And the best part is that the bill was championed by a former guerrilla!!"
That's evolution for ya...
- Which state is next is more important.
- R336 I'm hoping NJ.
- R336, not on an international level or in terms of advancing the cause of gay marriage/gay rights around the world. It really doesn't have a huge impact on anyone outside the US if Delaware or Illinois passes gay marriage. What would have more of an impact is federal recognition of same sex marriages at federal level. And there's already a separate thread for which US state will be next to pass gay marriage.
- R337 you are r336, so why "write" to yourself?
- Big props to French Socialists for moving the date for the final National Assembly date up to Wednesday instead of late May. They finally realize that the opposition would use the longer time period to continue their public tantrums and spark hate crimes. The Socialists are wisely saying, we have debated this long enough, we are the ruling party, and this will be law sooner, not later. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of Hollande's transformation instead a stronger, decisive leader.
- I bet Russia will be next!
- New Zealand will probably be the 13th nation because of its time zone.
- Ireland is going to have a fucking referendum on gay marriage, as if a group's equal rights are about what other people think.
- Poor old shitty behind-the-times UK is lagging behind so many other European countries. The UK is definitely not the hip Euro country anymore.
- Can anyone provide an update on marriage equality legislation in Nevada and Delaware?
- France's action may lead Switzerland to pass same-sex marriage legislature. However,it would certainly be subject to a voter referendum on the issue, so they probably will not pass it until they are certain voters will uphold it.
- Dear r344, the UK is almost there with gay marriage. How's it going in your country?
As for Belgium and Portual, Belgium was only the second country in the world to pass gay marriage so they can be excused I guess, but when they first passed it they excluded the right to adoption because they believed that Belgian society was not ready for that. Similarly, Portugal did not pass same-sex adoption and IVF treatment when they passed gay marriage. Apparently these measures will be introduced soon. So, even though supposedly behind UK has only got civil partnerships, British same-sex couples (and gay individuals) could and can still adopt and have fertility treatment. Portugal has marriage but not all the rights.
Of course, Belgium now has a gay prime minister, and he will soon be the only out gay head of government in the world once the Icelandic lesbian prime minister stands down at the end of the month.
Exactly r346 - referendums only hold gay marriage back. It might be fine for Ireland but the precedent they're setting is hugely damaging for other countries.
- Ireland's rather complex 1937 requires referenda for just about any time that there are any major proposals to change Irish life.
In the UK, marriage equality for England and Wales passed the first reading in the House of Commons.
The local government in Scotland is committed to marriage equality and it should be able to pass the legislation, but ...
- [quote] Dear [R344], the UK is almost there with gay marriage. How's it going in your country?
Really good sweetheart - I'm in Denmark.
As I said, so much of Europe has left the shitty UK in the dust. And the nerve of you to try to put down Portugal and Belgium - at least they have gay marriage. How about in Backwards Britain? You're all talk and no action there. "Almost there" my arse.
- Congratulations, gay Dane! Your country was the last of the Scandies - I think there were some niggles about that.
Why is pointing out that Belgium and Portugal initially did not pass gay adoption and gay IVF in their gay marriage laws "putting them down"? In Portugal gay adoption and gay IVF are still banned, whereas they are allowed in the UK, which only has civil partnerships. Sorry, but that's a fact, not "putting" anyone down. Or don't you like facts?
By the way, do you have any clue about what's going in the UK? It's in the final stages of the legislative process. Is that too hard for you to comprehend?
Since you think the UK is so bad, I wonder what you have to say about the US.
- I think the final French vote will be April 24. So, New Zealand will be 13th, unless you don't count it until the formality of royal assent occurs.
- Any update on the petition movement in Finland? When does Parliament have to take it up?
- France’s National Assembly decided Monday to bring forward the final vote on France’s gay marriage bill to April 23, raising the prospect of more mass demonstrations by opponents in the coming days.
By Catherine VIETTE (video)
Sam Ball (text)
Opponents to France’s controversial plans to legalise gay marriage have called for fresh demonstrations after it emerged Monday that a final vote on the legislation is to be brought forward to next week.
France’s upper house of parliament, the Senate, joined the lower house National Assembly in backing the bill last Friday and a final parliamentary vote on the legislation was originally slated to take place in late May.
However, the executive branch of the National Assembly has now decided to bring the final decision forward to April 23.
With the prospect of the bill now becoming law within a matter of mere days, French opponents of gay marriage have called for fresh demonstrations next week.
“There will be a protest or a gathering on April 21st, and there may also be something on April 23rd,” organisers of anti-gay marriage protests told AFP.
Syndicate contentTensions and protests over same-sex marriage in France
Gay-marriage opponents claim revolutionary mantle
Gay-marriage opponents claim revolutionary mantle
‘Non’ to anti-gay marriage march on Champs Elysées
‘Non’ to anti-gay marriage march on Champs Elysées
French parliament approves landmark gay marriage bill
French parliament approves landmark gay marriage bill
Opponents are also planning to gather near the National Assembly every evening as soon as this Tuesday, he added, while a mass protest in Paris is scheduled for May 26th if the law is approved.
With the passing of the legislation becoming increasingly likely, those against the bill have ramped up their actions in recent weeks, with some demonstrations leading to clashes with police.
There have also been claims that the bill has inflamed homophobic sentiments across France. Earlier this month Rights group SOS Homophobie said it had registered a 30 per cent rise in reports of assaults on homosexuals last year compared to 2011, with a marked surge when the debate on gay marriage began in the autumn.
However, leaders of the anti-gay marriage demonstrations have sought to distance the movement from accusations of violence and homophobia.
Frigide Barjot, the French comedian turned figurehead of the anti-gay marriage protests, told RMC radio on Wednesday: “We don't want violence. We denounce this violence and these acts, we have nothing to do with (Catholic) fundamentalists or extremists.”
Meanwhile, a total of around 70 anti-gay marriage protestors were detained by police on Sunday evening as they attempted to set up a campsite outside the National Assembly in Paris.
The demonstrators were held until Monday afternoon before being released with a warning.
- I read about some transsexual wedding case in Hong Kong recently. To my surprise, transsexuals can get married in Mainland China but not in Hong Kong, according to the news report.
But when it comes to same sex marriage, I cannot think of any major Asian countries are likely to become the first in Asia. You may guess things can be easier if those Christian extremists are out of the way, but no.
- [quote]But when it comes to same sex marriage, I cannot think of any major Asian countries are likely to become the first in Asia.
What about Thailand?
- Legalizing same-sex marriage could prove the final spark in inciting violence in economically frazzled France, the nation’s top Catholic bishop said Tuesday.
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, said to other bishops that the government’s push to expedite gay-marriage legislation despite the rising swell of opposition is a mistake. It’s a sign the society is ready to split, he said, as Newsmax reported.
The prelate’s comments came in context of Monday’s legislative decision to pass same-sex marriage laws weeks faster than initially planned, and absent full legislative debate, Newsmax reported.
“This is the way a violent society develops,” Cardinal Vingt-Trois said at the spring meeting of the French bishops conference, on Newsmax. “Society has lost its capacity of integration and especially its ability to blend differences in a common project.”
The signs are all there: Protests against gay marriage have escalated in recent days, he said. But the Socialist-led government is not listening — and that’s opening the doors to more forceful protest, he said on Newsmax. Adding to the problem is that the legislators are not giving full voice to the measure on the legislative floor, he said.
“Forcing it through can simplify things for a while,” he said, as Newsmax reported. “To avoid paralyzing political life when there are grave economic and social decisions to take, it would have been more reasonable and simple to not have started this process.”
- 5:30 AM Wednesday Apr 17, 2013
Labour MP Louisa Wall, says the debate has mostly been respectful. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour MP Louisa Wall, says the debate has mostly been respectful. Photo / Mark Mitchell
New Zealand is expected to become the 13th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage this evening as a bill to amend marriage law comes before Parliament for its final hurdle.
MPs will debate the biggest change to gay and transgender rights since homosexual law reform 25 years ago, with a historic vote on the third reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill scheduled for around 9pm.
Parliament is likely to back it into law by a wide margin, making New Zealand the first Asia-Pacific country to permit same-sex weddings.
Speaker David Carter has relented on requests from parties on both sides of the House to let more people into Parliament for the final debate.
The legislative chambers will be opened to allow 200 more people to witness it on a large screen.
Hundreds more opponents and supporters are expected to crowd on to Parliament's lawn.
The fully booked public gallery at Parliament will include the Topp Twins, former MPs - including New Zealand's first transsexual MP, Georgina Beyer - the Spanish and French ambassadors and a representative of the US Embassy.
Green MP and rainbow issues spokesman Kevin Hague said it was the most important occasion in his time in Parliament.
"It is truly a historic moment in New Zealand's social and political history. To be part of it is a fantastic opportunity."
He added: "In a few years' time, people will look back on this and wonder what the fuss was about.
"People will not marry their pets. Ministers will not be thrown into prison. People will not be prevented from using the words husband and wife or bride and bridegroom. Teachers won't have any restrictions on what they can teach. And opposition which is based on these fears will melt away."
The Protect Marriage group, led by conservative lobby group Family First, sent out last-minute emails yesterday imploring people to call their MPs and tell them to vote "no".
It provided a list of MPs' phone numbers and said: "Tomorrow is the the day they will try to mess up marriage."
Many opponents of the bill seemed to be accepting defeat.
Former MP Gordon Copeland, who organised a huge prayer vigil at Parliament for the committee stages of the bill, said it no longer appeared that MPs would change their minds.
"There is resignation mixed with a degree of sadness, because I feel that this bill is not in the interests of New Zealand society.
"There will still be an effort in the longer term to resurrect [traditional marriage], but that's for another day, another year."
If the bill passes this evening, same-sex and transgender couples will be able to marry in August.
Gay couples who married overseas will be able to have their marriage officially recognised in New Zealand.
The bill will also have significant impact on transgender communities. At present, married transsexual people are forced to divorce when they change their gender, but they will no longer have to do so if the bill is passed.
The path of the bill into law has appeared certain since it was backed by a two-to-one margin by MPs in August. The legislation was supported by leaders of all parties except New Zealand First's Winston Peters.
Despite a highly emotional select committee process and significant protest from church communities, it lost only four votes of support at the second reading.
The bill's sponsor, Labour MP Louisa Wall, said that despite some scaremongering campaigns, the debate had mostly been respectful, especially when compared with the fuss over the Civil Union Act 10 years ago.
How the parties are split*
* National: 44 per cent of MPs
* Maori: 100 per cent
* United Future: 100 per cent
* Act: 100 per cent
* Labour: 91 per cent
* Green: 100 per cent
* Mana: 100 per cent.
* National: 56 per cent of MPs
* Labour: 9 per cent
* New Zealand First: 100 per cent
* Independent (Brendan Horan): 100 per ce
- [bold]New Zealand Poised to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage[/bold]
This week New Zealand could become the first Asia-Pacific Nation to legalize marriage equality.
Parliament is set Wednesday for the final hearing on a bill that would amend the 1955 Marriage Act to define marriage as the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexuality or gender identity
If signed into law, New Zealand would join over a dozen countries to recognize marriage equality nationwide, along with the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark.
Just last week Uruguay’s House of Representatives gave final approval to a nationwide marriage equality bill, which now awaits President Jose Mujica’s signature.
Same-sex marriage is also recognized in parts of Brazil, Mexico and in nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
- New Zealand has just legalized same sex marriage.
- Hundreds celebrate at New Zealand’s Parliament as lawmakers approve gay-marriage bill
By Associated Press,
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Hundreds of jubilant gay-rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand’s Parliament Wednesday night as the country become the 13th in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.
Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final readingPeople watching from the public gallery and some lawmakers immediately broke into song after the result was announced, singing the New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language.
“For us, we can now feel equal to everyone else,” said Tania Penafiel Bermudez, a bank teller who said she already considers herself married to partner Sonja Fry but now can get a certificate to prove it. “This means we can feel safe and fair and right in calling each other wife and wife.”
In one of several speeches that ended in a standing ovation, bill sponsor Louisa Wall told lawmakers the change was “our road toward healing.”
“In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal — it’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person,” she said. She added that “nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill.”
Lawmakers from most political parties were encouraged by their leaders to vote as their conscience dictated rather than along party lines. Although Wall is from the opposition Labour Party, the bill also was supported by center-right Prime Minister John Key.
“In my view, marriage is a very personal thing between two individuals,” Key said. “And, in the end, this is part of equality in modern-day New Zealand.”
Since 2005, New Zealand has allowed civil unions, which confer many legal rights to gay couples. The new law will allow gay couples to jointly adopt children for the first time and will also allow their marriages to be recognized in other countries. The law will take effect in late August.
“This is really, really huge,” said Jills Angus Burney, a lawyer who drove about 90 minutes to Parliament to watch the vote with her partner, Deborah Hambly, who had flown in from farther afield. “It’s really important to me. It’s just unbelievable.”
Burney, a Presbyterian, said she and Hambly want to celebrate with a big, traditional wedding as soon as possible.
The change in New Zealand could put pressure on some of its neighbors to consider changing their laws. In Australia, there has been little political momentum for a change at a federal level and Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage. Some Australian states, however, are considering gay-marriage legislation.
Rodney Croome, the national director for the lobbying group Australian Marriage Equality, said that since Friday, 1,000 people had signed an online survey saying they would travel to New Zealand to wed, though same-sex marriages would not be recognized under current Australian law.
“There’s this really big, pent-up demand for this in Australia,” Croome said. “New Zealand is just a three-hour plane ride away, and many couples are going to go to New Zealand to marry. They are just so sick and tired of waiting for the government to act. I think it’s going to spark this big tourism boom.”
Many people in New Zealand remain vehemently opposed to gay marriage. The lobbying group Family First last year presented a petition to Parliament signed by 50,000 people who opposed the bill. Another 25,000 people have since added their signatures to that petition.
“Historically and culturally, marriage is about man and a woman, and it shouldn’t be touched,” said Family First founder Bob McCoskrie. “It doesn’t need to be.”
McCoskrie said same-sex marriage should have been put to a public referendum rather than a parliamentary vote. That might not have changed the outcome, however: Surveys indicate that about two-thirds of New Zealanders favor gay marriage.
The change was given impetus last May when U.S. President Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage. That prompted Prime Minister Key to break his silence on the issue by saying he was “not personally opposed” to the idea. Wall then put forward the bill, which she had previously drafted.
Same-sex marriage is recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign. Nine states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.
In his speech before Wednesday’s vote, lawmaker Tau Henare extended a greeting to people of all sexual identities and concluded with a traditional greeting in his indigenous Maori.
“My message to you all is, ‘Welcome to the mainstream,’” Henare said. “Do well. Kia Ora.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Congrats to New Zealand! In just a month three more countries legalized it, including Uruguay, France and New Zealand, in that order. And USA.. well, no comment, lol.
- Woo Hoo New Zealand! Predict that Aussies will cross the ditch to make it legal...
- Appearantly some Aussies are upset that The Kiwis beat them for legalizing gay marriage..I had no idea those 2 countries like to compete with each other
- Unfortunately Australian's are very likely to vote in a conservative government later in the year. There will be no same sex marriage for at least another three years.
- Australians (no apostrophe)
- Congratulations, New Zealand!
Beautiful country as well. :)
- NZ decriminalized homosexuality 27 years ago. By its standard, all 50 US states will not have same sex marriage until 2030.
- [quote]Appearantly some Aussies are upset that The Kiwis beat them for legalizing gay marriage..I had no idea those 2 countries like to compete with each other
Well then maybe the lazy gay "movement" in Australia should get a backbone and start fighting harder.
- For all the problems with the US gay movement, I give them props for making demands of the Democratic Party. They would not let Obama sleep until he wholeheartedly endorsed marriage equality, nor any of the US Senators. We have a pushy, bossy, demanding American gay rights movement to thank for social and political gains. Aussie progressives need to stop playing coy with Gilliard and threaten to bring her down if she does not support marriage equality. There should be protestors and hecklers at her every appearance hounding her on this issue.
- Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she won't be moved from her stance against gay marriage despite New Zealand passing legislation allowing same sex couples to tie the knot.
Asked by a member of the public at a community cabinet in Melbourne on Wednesday night why Australia lagged behind New Zealand in legalising gay marriage, Ms Gillard said she would not be changing her mind on the issue.
"I doubt we're going to end up agreeing," Ms Gillard said.
She told the community cabinet at Ringwood that Labor has allowed a conscience vote on the matter.
As Ms Gillard was speaking at Ringwood, a conscience vote in New Zealand parliament passed the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill with a convincing 77-44 vote.
New Zealand is the 13th country to legalise gay marriage and the first in the Asia-Pacific.
Independent Sydney MP and gay rights activist Alex Greenwich said the vote showed the campaign for gay marriage was "unstoppable".
"I wanted to come over here and see that it can happen," Mr Greenwich told reporters in Wellington.
He said the vote gave "a lot of hope and a lot of encouragement to campaigns in Australia".
"The growing international pressure that was just taken up a notch with New Zealand embracing this important reform is sending a message that marriage equality is unstoppable," he said.
"If New Zealand can do it, Australia can as well."
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Rodney Croome labelled the vote a "game changer".
"This will be a game changer in Australia because of the close links between our two countries," he said in a statement.
Mr Croome expects as many as 1000 gay couples will now cross the Tasman to get married.
"Now that marriage equality is only three hours away there will be a flood of couples flying to New Zealand," he said.
Last year, an attempt to legalise gay marriage failed in the Australian parliament, with Ms Gillard opposed to the move, and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott refusing coalition MPs a conscience vote.
- The thing is Gillard is going to be obliterated in the Election. I really beleive changing the Labour Party's stance on gay marriage would work in her favour and could turn the momentum around for the party. She'd get good mileage out of it, suck the air out of the Liberal Party (conservatives) and expose them for the archaic assholes that they are - which people have forgotten in their haste to vote this government out. You can kiss any reform goodbye under a Liberal Government. It will not happen during their term. Australia will be at the bottom of the pile of countries to legalise gay marriage.
- R371, I agree. Look at the momentum it gave Obama.
- I love this NZ cabinet member's response to gay marriage opponents --
He's pretty funny. And he puts into perspective this ridiculous anti-gay hysteria.
- Great link R373. I wish more politicians had the same rational attitude as him.
- French PM urges calm as gay law vote looms
April 18, 2013 7:16AM
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FRENCH Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called for calm as the National Assembly prepares to give its final approval to a bill legalising same-sex marriage and adoption.
The lower house National Assembly began its second reading of the bill late on Wednesday and was to give its final approval on April 23, under a fast-track measure that limited debate to 25 hours.
Opposition to the bill has failed to die down, despite it being approved by the Senate last week, with critics vowing mass protests to derail the proposition.
Several thousand opponents to the bill crammed the streets of Paris on Wednesday, waving banners that read "A father, a mother, it's basic" or criticised French President Francois Hollande.
According to 40-year-old lawyer Philippe, "the necessary attention has not been given to such an important bill".
"A referendum at least would be a big step forward", agreed Etienne, a 19-year-old student who said he was joining as many of the protests as he could.
Organisers put the number at 8000 while police said 2400 people had protested.
Twenty-four people who took part in a counter-protest denouncing homophobia were arrested, police said.
The day before, some 2700 opponents had gathered in Versailles outside the capital to protest the bill, leading to scuffles with police.
Opponents have vowed new mass demonstrations in the next week.
"These protests have a right to take place, we are in a republic. But calls for violence, calls to hate, must be condemned," Ayrault told journalists, urging right-wing politicians to "call for calm" among supporters.
The bill has proved hugely controversial in a country that is officially secular but predominantly Catholic, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people for months in pro- and anti-gay marriage protests nationwide, some violent.
A mass protest in Paris is also planned for May 26 if the law is approved, to demand its withdrawal and a referendum on gay marriage.
- R376 Isn't it a Catholic country?
- So is France. So is Spain. So is Portugal. So is Argentina. So is Mexico City.
- The antigay side in France surely is driven and organized. Quite scary. They are planning another huge march if marriage equality passes. They won't give up.
- That Kiwi MP is hilarious! Bless him, in a non religious sort of way.
- R378 True. I never thought of that.
In another step on the road to a likely eventual change in the Australian law, Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, now says the policy on the same-sex marriage will be decided by the party room after the election.
By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra
Tony Abbott has made an important shift in the Liberal position on gay marriage.
In another step on the road to a likely eventual change in the Australian law, Abbott now says the policy on the issue will be decided by the party room after the election.
Up until this week the policy has been against gay marriage, with Liberal MPs denied a free vote. The move by Abbott opens the prospect of the party room allowing a conscience vote.
Abbott signalled the shift at a community forum in his electorate on Monday night, before the New Zealand vote this week to legalise gay marriage. After that vote NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell called for a conscience vote federally across all parties.
Mr Abbott today reaffirmed his own view that “the orthodox definition of marriage as between a man and a woman should continue.”
But he said: “our position, my position, going into the next election is that what our policy is on this will be a matter for the post election party room.
“I’m not trying to say that the party is committed forever and a day to the current position.”
One reason Abbott has consistently given for denying a conscience vote to his MPs during this parliament is that the opposition went into the last election with a policy opposing gay marriage. The Labor party allowed its MPs a concuss vote on private member’s legislation before the parliament last year, but the bid to change the law failed.
Manager of Opposition business Christopher Pyne reflected the change of Liberal position, saying on the Nine Network’s Today show: “In the next parliament we haven’t got a clear policy on a conscience vote.
“The party room will get to decide that, we might well end up with some recognition of same-sex couples.”
Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has been a strong advocate of allowing Liberals a conscience vote, making it clear he would support a change in the law. He was not able to buck the party line last year because that would have cost him his frontbench position.
Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
- Members of France's National Assembly came to blows yesterday as the finalization of same-sex marriage was debated. Via Pink News:
On Friday, the lower house of French National Assembly almost mirrored violent protests outside, around the issue of equal marriage, as MPs came to the end of the capped 25-hour debate around the bill which would allow equal marriage, and same sex couples the right to adopt.
Punches were reportedly thrown in the scuffle, which lasted several minutes, whilst ministers shouted “out”, “out”. One minister said he had never experienced such an incident in his 30 years in the lower house. The incident, which was attributed to fatigue and the high emotions brought on by the controversial nature of the issue, was condemned by the ruling Socialist party.
Aside from the fisticuffs, things went well for our side and the very last vote is expected to take place on Tuesday.
- (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande's government called on Thursday for an end to violent protests against a same-sex marriage bill being debated in parliament, warning those behind a rise in homophobic assaults would be punished.
Hollande's initiative to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot - the most significant social reform undertaken since France banned the death penalty in 1981 - has split the nation and sparked huge protests both for and against the law.
As the lower house of parliament prepares for a final vote on the law next week, the "anti" protests have turned violent and police have noted a rise in homophobic assaults.
In one such attack, a gay bar in the northern city of Lille was trashed on Wednesday night by four men shouting homophobic insults, leaving several people with injuries.
"I cannot accept ... homophobic acts and violence against property in the midst of protests, or any defiance of law enforcement officials," Hollande told reporters during a visit to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
"(Democratic) procedures must be respected, sensibilities must be respected, and everyone must be heard ... But the law and parliament also need to be respected," he added.
The four Lille assailants were detained by police after they smashed the bar's windows, hurled furniture and yelled insults, starting an altercation that left the assailants, the bar's owner and two bar tenders with light injuries.
The assault came days after the photograph of a gay man whose face was bruised and lacerated after a severe beating in Paris became a viral sensation on social media web sites.
"They came to beat up gays - that's exactly how they phrased it," said the proprietor of the bar in Lille.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls issued warnings by name on Thursday to four far-right groups he accused of inciting hatred against gays on the Internet and seeking to intimidate parliamentarians who support the bill.
Last week three police officers were hurt and two vehicles damaged in scuffles with anti-gay marriage protestors near Paris' Champs Elysees avenue. Twelve protestors were arrested and charged with deliberate violence.
Extra riot police will be deployed at another big march set for Sunday after recent rallies turned ugly. Two lawmakers have received anonymous death threats due to their support for the law, Valls said.
"Law enforcement and intelligence services are mobilized against this situation," Valls said. "There can be no violence against the police, there can be no violence against individuals, there can be no death threats."
(Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur and Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Catherine Bremer and Jon Hemming)
- The bigots have a few more major demonstrations planned. They're committed to stirring up as much unrest as possible in the hope of making the government withdraw the bill. In France there is a precedent for withdrawing bills that have already passed through the legislative process in response to massive street demonstrations. They're also filing an appeal with the conseil constitutionnel hoping for a judgement of unconstitutionality against parts of the law. It's not over till it's over. It's interesting that French gay bloggers, unlike their American counterparts reporting on the situation in France, remain guarded.
- Because the right and the extreme right are angry at having lost power, they have seized on this bill in an effort to attack and destabilize Hollande's government. They have cynically counted on monopolizing on the strong homophobia that continues to exist under the surface in France as well as channeling all frustrations and anger about the ongoing financial crisis and rising unemployment against Hollande. The French media has also been giving Frigide Barjot, the right-wing catholic harpy, an unlimited platform for spreading her simplistic anti-gay message of "one father, one mother" etc. And the socialist party has not been effective at countering the lies on these TV programs. Unlike the other countries in Western Europe, France has a strong sexist, homophobic, xenophobic reactionary right wing that is ready to jump in at the first opportunity. Remember the Petainistes. They haven't gone anywhere.
- Sadly it is very simple. The motto is not Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité but Liberté, Egalité, Foutaises (bullshit)! The main opposition party, Sarkozy's UMP, is taking its use of this debate and its desire to use it as a whip against the Socialists whilst at the same time diverting attention from its own in-fighting and running with it. The bully boys may have let themselves go to far last night though. There are numerous articles in the press today, a press which has been very on the fences so far, calling the UMP out for behaving beyond badly. It is one thing that people like Barjot and Bourges talk trosh, Bourges on TV last night was outrageous, but it is another that MPs throw punches at each other and the police. What Joe hasn't yet posted is the report about a UMP MP, Dominique Tian, attending the demonstration outside parliament. A curfew was set at 10pm for the demo to end. The News reported Barjot and the MP calling for the demo to end. Barjot goes home (she knows she's setting herself up for some serious backlash
- Violence grows as gay marriage bill divides France
Rise in homophobia worries Paris's gay community as protesters against Hollande's proposed reform take to streets on Saturday
A large American wartime poster proclaiming "We can do it" hangs behind the bar at Les Souffleurs, a fashionable bar in the Marais, the traditionally Jewish, but now gay, quarter of Paris.
The barman admits business is a little quiet for a Friday evening: the drinkers sitting on stools and chatting say they are concerned about the increasingly vocal and violent rise in homophobia in France, provoked by the bitter debate over same-sex marriage.
On Sunday the issue that has divided France will reach a potentially explosive peak as opponents of gay marriage take to the streets in a last-ditch attempt to stop the so-called "marriage for all" bill, which is expected to be approved by parliament finally on Tuesday. A demonstration by supporters of the right for homosexuals to marry and adopt children has also been planned.
Less than two weeks ago, in a spate of violence against gays, Dutch-born Wilfred de Bruijn was beaten up while walking arm in arm with his partner in Paris. De Bruijn posted a picture of his bruised and bloody face on Facebook, stating "it's the face of homophobia".
As an often ill-tempered debate in the national assembly came to an end last week, the violence was clearly escalating, with arrests at protests in the capital and other cities, and reports of attacks on gay bars.
Anti-gay marriage protesters, who have taken to calling their movement Le Printemps Français (the French spring, an echo of the Arab spring uprisings that overthrew unpopular dictators), mimicked the radical feminist movement FEMEN, whose members demonstrate topless, and took off their shirts outside the French parliament.
President François Hollande has condemned the "homophobic" violence, and his interior minister, Manuel Valls, has warned that the protests have been hijacked by far-right organisations.
The figurehead of the anti-gay marriage movement, the comedian Virginie Tellenne, who calls herself Frigide Barjot and who has described herself as "press attaché for Jesus", had earlier said: "If Hollande wants blood, he'll get it." She later retracted her comment, saying she had "gone too far".
However, she admitted "troublemakers" were joining protests and called on the government to round them up, saying they were "blackening" the organisation's image.
"On Sunday, many peaceful people will be in the streets and the forces of law and order have a responsibility to ensure calm demonstrations. We know the police have identified the troublemakers ... but they have done nothing," Tellenne said.
Back in Les Souffleurs, Dorothée Jenny, a 26-year-old bisexual working in human resources, said she had been incensed at the homophobia at a recent anti-gay marriage march. "I do think about it at the moment, but I don't want to change my habits. Hopefully, when the law is passed, things will calm down," she said. Her twin brother Hyppolite, a webmaster, agreed. "I wouldn't kiss my boyfriend in the street these days," he said. The pair thought those opposed to gay marriage were also using the demonstrations to rail against Hollande. "I'm surprised at the popularity of the anti-gay campaign. These are young people we could be talking with."
The twins' friend, Estelle Luporsi, 24, a bank worker, spoke of a climate of fear. "There are certainly areas in Paris where you have to pay attention," she said.
Standing at the bar, artist Daniel Vincent, 50, thought that the social media had exacerbated the violence and created a "paranoia of an invisible enemy" among the anti-gay marriage protesters. "It's very present on social media. It brings back a lot of the homophobic experiences [people] have had in the past, the old stories," he said.
"We're finding the same amalgamation of tensions that we had around the presidential elections," said his friend François-Henri Galland, a 41-year old teacher, pointing to when both right and left goaded each other on social networks.
In other bars in the Marais on Friday, after the parliamentary debate wound up, the gay community was out in force and determined not to feel under siege. Standing with a group of friends on the terrace of the popular Café Open, David Rol, a 40-year-old engineer, said he was more wary than afraid about going out in the Marais. "Scared no, because I come out in this area a lot, but tonight I thought there could be problems."
Jean Soubeyre, a 43-year-old who works in marketing, said the legitimacy given to homophobia in the current climate was horrible. "The law will pass, but it's crystallising all sorts of other problems, such as the financial crisis."
Rol agreed that the law will pass. "Hollande knows he doesn't have a choice. If he renounces it, he will lose all credibility," he said. "For me, the [anti-gay marriage] protests just confirm that France is a rightwing country at heart."
- Gay marriage may have passed with barely hitch in many countries, but it has kicked up a huge storm in France, a country often seen as the champion of secularism and notoriously relaxed on issues pertaining to private life.
Smelling blood after a bruising first year for President Francois Hollande, right-wing leaders have mobilised a fierce campaign.
But sociologists argue that France's social fabric and identity crisis also helps explain the ferocity of the debate.
The cheers and Maori love song that greeted the legalisation of same-sex union in New Zealand's parliament Thursday were in stark contrast to the escalating rage a similar bill is causing in France.
In parliament, MPs nearly came to blows this week; gay activists have reported a rise in attacks on homosexuals; and millions of people have taken to the streets to declare their opposition to the bill, vowing to fight to the bitter end.
The divisions over gay marriage in France follow political lines, and the opposition has united against the bill, seizing an opportunity to pile pressure on an already embattled administration.
"It was the first chance for the right-wing electorate to express their opposition to Francois Hollande's presidency and (Prime Minister) Jean-Marc Ayrault's government," political analyst Jean-Yves Camus said.
After Nicolas Sarkozy's failed reelection bid and subsequent political retirement left France's mainstream right in tatters, the opportunity was threefold for his UMP party, Camus said.
"It is now an opposition party and needs fresh momentum. The negative social and economic context favours the spread of discontent, and the president's ratings are abysmal," he said.
The new law is expected to pass on Tuesday, which would make France the world's 14th country to legalise same-sex unions.
With two days to go, the war of words is still raging between politicians, and riot police are bracing for rival marches on Sunday, with opponents of the bill promising another monster demonstration.
Robert Rochefort, a sociologist and centrist member of the European Parliament, stressed that the furore offered the latest evidence that French society was insecure.
"I think gay marriage is the course of history and will come about in all Western nations... but (French) society is cornered by its own fears," he said.
The issue of national identity was a centrepiece of Sarkozy's tenure and of his failed reelection campaign and many in France's ever-growing far-right electorate hope to rekindle the debate.
While the state is fiercely secular, the gay marriage bill showed that a significant section of French society remains staunchly Catholic and conservative.
During the string of demonstrations opposing the bill, some of which drew hundreds of thousands of protesters, families marched alongside royalists, fundamentalist Catholics and far-right nationalists.
Opinion polls have routinely indicated that while a majority of French people support gay marriage, a slight majority opposes adoption rights for homosexual couples.
"It was clumsy of the government to initially suggest that the bill would also legalise medically assisted procreation" for homosexual couples, said Michel Wievorka, one of France's most renowned sociologists.
Jean-Yves Camus argued that the fervour the issue has stirred up in France was "the legacy of a past that still excites passions more than two centuries after the dawn of the republic."
The separation between church and state was a blood-drenched affair in France -- and two centuries on, the divisions still remain, Camus argued.
Catholic fundamentalists may be a small minority, but they are deeply rooted one. And there are still those on the right who will never accept the legitimacy of a left-wing government.
Wievorka however predicted that the bill's supporters would prevail as the other camp was coming apart at the seams, with protests generally losing steam or being hijacked by radical fringe groups.
- Fears over last-ditch gay marriage protests
Published: 21 Apr 2013 10:00 GMT+02:00 | Print version
Updated: 21 Apr 2013 15:43 GMT+02:00
Tens of thousands of people were expected to throng the streets of Paris on Sunday in a last-ditch bid to block passage of controversial gay marriage legislation.
The French parliament is expected to pass the bill allowing gays to marry and adopt children on Tuesday, after weeks of opposition protests which last week culminated in several days of hostile and sometimes violent rallies.
More than 300,000 people took part in a demonstration in March , but it is unlikely that Sunday will see the same numbers.
Supporters of the bill – a key manifesto pledge by France's Socialist president Francois Hollande – have planned a rival demonstration, also on Sunday.
The bill should see France become the 14th country in the world to legalise same-sex unions following New Zealand, which passed its law last week.
Tension over the imminent adoption of the law – which is going through a second reading after already being approved in the French parliament's upper and lower houses – reached breaking point last week.
In Paris, opponents of the bill marched for three nights running Wednesday through Friday.
A hard core of activists, some wearing masks, clashed with police, who made more than 100 arrests during the week. Two journalists were attacked during Wednesday's march, and cars along the route of the rally were vandalised.
In parliament's lower house, the National Assembly, a final debate on the legislation in the small hours of Friday was marred by unprecedented scuffles between deputies.
Opponents have accused the government of rushing the bill through its final legislative stages by implementing a fast-track measure limiting debate to 25 hours.
Rights groups have reported a general rise in verbal and physical assaults against homosexuals amid the debate, and two gay bars came under attack on Wednesday, in the northern city of Lille and in southwestern Bordeaux.
On Saturday, several hundred people marched in the northwestern city of Nantes to denounce what they said was a climate of fear created by a "fascist" wave of homophobia.
Michele Gressus, vice president of the city's socialist group, denounced what she called "the words, deeds and gestures of fascists" in the recent protests against the bill.
In Bordeaux meanwhile, several hundred people marched Saturday to protest the proposed law, blowing whistles, sounding horns and striking saucepans.
Hollande, whose support for his campaign promise has never wavered, has condemned the surge in "homophobic" violence. Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned that far-right organisations are infiltrating the opposition movement, triggering unrest.
The bill was largely supported by the ruling Socialists, their allies in the Green Party and the Communists, and opposed by the main opposition UMP and other right-wing and centre-right parties.
It has proved hugely divisive in a country that is officially secular but predominantly Catholic.
Organisers say they hope Sunday's march through central Paris, due to start at 2:30 pm (1230 GMT), will gather between 30,000 and 50,000 people.
"We only have a few days left, we are not going to abandon the street" protests now, organiser Alberic Dumont said Friday.
Opinion polls have repeatedly indicated that a majority of French people support gay marriage but that fewer support adoption rights for homosexual couples.
A further mass protest in Paris is planned for May 26th if the law is approved, to demand its repeal and a referendum on gay marriage.
- France should be voting in minutes.
- Breaking News
French parliament legalises gay marriage
The French parliament has approved a bill legalising gay marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in its final vote on the legislation.
- WOW! Vive La Republique!
- VIVE LA FRANCE!
- France is number 14, assuming the Constitutional Court upholds the law. The vote was 331-225.
- Congrats to France and glad to see the coverage of the protests against it were overblown. That vote was not even especially close.
- The BBC of course has a huge picture up of the marriage opponents holding a wake with children and candle3s. They have had incredibly slanted, homophobic reportage on this for MONTHS!
That said, félicitations, FRANCE :)
- Someone needs to update Wikipedia - Uruguay is still not listed (nor France, but it's only been minutes).
- 17:26 Scuffles outside parliament. Our reporter Dan Mac Guill says the leader of the anti-gay marriage movement Frigide Barjot was accosted as she came out of the National Assembly." Pro-gay marriage supporters shouted 'homophobe' at her and 'Frigide Fascho'. Riot police had to protect and moved in to seal off a street so she could get away."
- Rather exciting that since this thread began in 2011, four more countries have legalised same-sex marriage: Denmark, Uruguay, New Zealand and France.
And the United Kingdom will be any minute as well.
Any guesses which will be next after the UK?
- Hurry up Luxembourg and Finland.
- Frigide Barjot has been the real cause of the anti-gay marriage movement in France. I wonder - since she pretends to be a friend to the gays - if she'll be embarassed by her position today in about ten years time.
- I finally watched the video of the New Zealand parliament breaking out into spontaneous song after gay marriage passed and that was one of the most moving things I have ever seen - pure unplanned joy, humans expressing themselves in chorus.
(Worth pasting in again below)
- Why is the gay movement in Germany so lazy? Why aren't they fighting for equal rights?
- The United Kingdom is divided into three parts when it comes to marriage equality: 1) England and Wales; 2) Scotland and 3) Northern Ireland
Parliament has begun the process to permit same sex in marriage in England and Wales. Prime Minister David Cameron has led the fight for marriage equality., even though his Conservative party voted against the measure. The measure passed with votes from the Liberal Democrats, the Tories' junior partner in the coalition government, and the opposition Labour Party.
Scotland's parliament has been studying the issue for some time. The Scottish Nationalists and their leader has been leading the way, but there has been much negative reaction for the established churches. The Scottish Labour party supports marriage equality, but is afraid of alienating its base of Catholic voters. The Scottish Tories are led by a lesbian, but they don't have the numbers to be a factor.
As for Northern Ireland, much will depend on what happens in the Republic of Ireland, which is heading towards marriage equality. There will be much opposition to marriage equality from both Catholics and Protestants in Ulster, may be the only issue that brings both sides together
- Next will be the UK and Vietnam.
- [quote]Next will be the UK and Vietnam.
The UK??? Please! The UK is as pathetic as the US when it comes to gay marriage, and the gays there are lazy and don't fight for their rights. The UK would be lucky if they got it by 2015.
- "Death to gays" is trending in france after the law passes........
- [quote]"Death to gays" is trending in france after the law passes........
What a lovely country.
Seriously though, no other country that has passed gay marriage has had this amount of hate or violence towards gays. The country has really shown it's true colors, and they're not pretty.
- France describe as the gayest country in the world is also the most homophobic.
- Riots in France tonight over gay marriage passage.
- What is the timetable for passage in the UK? When will the Lords vote?
- [quote]Riots in France tonight over gay marriage passage.
Do these people have nothing else going on in their lives to be so upset over this?
Wow, what a backwards country.
[quote]What is the timetable for passage in the UK? When will the Lords vote?
Honey, the UK has thrown this on the back burner (again), and would be lucky to see it in 2015.
- This says all you need to know about rabid homophobes:
- Apparently "homosexual must be killed", "death to gays" , "team homophobe,"Adam and Eve" were all trending in France.
- [quote] What is the timetable for passage in the UK? When will the Lords vote?
The Lords will be voting in May (next month), R414.
- The irony about the anti-gay idiots in France is that they don't realise how gay they look.
- The UK has a really protracted process to pass a law. I am glad Hollande decided to cut the process short and ram it through.
- r416, do you know the names on that poster? It's sensational!
- It is unlikely to pass in Finland, even after the citizens' petition.
- Your mom.
- Australia is talking about putting it up for a public vote.
- Will China Legalize Gay Marriage Before the United States?
- But see...that's the thing about "rights"... they're not supposed to be voted on.
- r428, but when many politicians don't feel it is right, you have a choice. no chance of it being passed by legislators, or appeal to the voters to make it law.
- Australia is falling behind.
- R429, there are the courts.
- The Coalition for Marriage (C4M) says David Cameron’s support for equal marriage explains why the Conservatives are expected to perform badly in Thursday’s local elections across England and Wales.
C4M, the UK lobby group that opposes marriage rights for gay couples, has commissioned ComRes to produce a poll – and it shows support for the UK Independence Party at a record high.
Released on Tuesday night it suggests UKIP – a party which opposes equal marriage and only supports civil partnerships – could win a staggering 22% of the vote.
The same poll puts the Conservatives on 31%, Labour on 24% and the Lib Dems on 12%.
Asked: “Does the Coalition Government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage make you more or less likely to vote for each of these parties in next week’s local elections?”
Just over one quarter (26%) of Conservative 2010 voters responded by saying less likely – with only 9% saying more likely. The results suggest the policy is costing the Conservatives three votes for every one gained.
Coalition for Marriage Director Colin Hart said: “The prime minister has consistently backed the proposed changes to redefine marriage as part of the so called decontamination strategy, but it has not worked. Every section of the electorate are highly sceptical about his motives, believing he is pushing this policy in a cynical attempt to make his party look trendy and progressive. This is the ultimate failure of Blairite triangulation policy.
He added: “As Lady Thatcher famously said ‘if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing.’”
The UK Independence Party’s affiliated LGBT group announced yesterday it would be contacting UKIP leader Nigel Farage in the wake of several anti-LGBT incidents involving prospective candidates.
PinkNews revealed last Friday that a homophobic and biphobic election leaflet in Staffordshire was being posted through letter boxes on behalf of Stone Rural UK candidate David Nixon.
UKIP Gloucestershire County Council hopeful John Sullivan, who supports Russia’s attempt to ban gay prides, was also accused of writing on Facebook that regular physical exercise in schools can “prevent homosexuality”.
Speaking to the BBC, David Cameron said on Wednesday that UKIP’s policies and candidates had come under the spotlight and they had to “explain themselves”.
The Conservatives are braced for losses on Thursday, with the 240-plus county council and unitary authority seats they gained in 2009, the last time the seats were contested, potentially looking the most vulnerable.
However, they are still expected to come first in the contest, which is dominated by local ballots in Tory heartlands.
- r431, you do realize that state court judges are often elected? After Prop 8 was passed in CA, the opposition publicly threatened to recall any state judge that undid it. After that, the CA Supreme Court decided to uphold Prop 8 based on the peoples' will. OF course, federal judges are not elected, but based on oral Supreme Court arguments, there is a lot of skepticism about undoing the will of the people as expressed through state referenda.
- Riots in France tonight over gay marriage passage. R413 and all the others.
France is always rioting about something or another.
As for the anti-gay sentiment, the slogans are nothing new. When the PACS (France's equivalent to Civil Unions) was being discussed, people took to the streets with slogans "Burn Gays on the Stake"!
Mobocracy doesn't rule in France, well at least not for long. It'll be forgotten in a few years time.
- R432 I'm very disappointed in the UK and it should be embarrassed at how so many other European countries have made gay marriage legal before them. The UK is definitely not the hip country it thinks it is.
- I am disappointed in UK gays and progressives. While the French gay movement has been rather slow to respond and counter the anti-gay antics, UK gays have been nearly absent in responding to the barrage of anti-gay marriage rhetoric in media. It doesn't help when prominent gays seem indifferent or even against the notion of marriage equality in the UK. There doesn't seem to be a lot of passion or organization among British gays for marriage equality. Do they even do marches and protests over there?
- David Cameron has been told by his own MPs to junk the gay marriage Bill and cut overseas aid in an effort to halt the UKIP bandwagon.
Tory MPs warned the Prime Minister that he must attend to the party’s “home base” swiftly to prevent more core Conservatives deserting to Nigel Farage
- Why are UK gays so wimpy and lazy about their rights?
- David Cameron was accused of ‘running scared’ on gay marriage after the controversial legislation was left out of the Queen’s Speech.
Downing Street insisted that the law – which has already cleared the Commons – would continue its passage through the Lords in the new session of Parliament.
But, in apparent recognition of its unpopularity with many traditional Tory voters – there was no mention of it in yesterday’s speech setting out the Government’s legislative programme for the year
Labour MP Stephen Pound said the legislation was becoming ‘the Bill that dare not speak its name’.
He added: ‘The speech has UKIP’s footprints all over it.’
Downing Street said there was no need for legislation to be in the speech because it was a ‘carry-over’ measure introduced midway through the last session.
But other carried-over legislation, such as the Energy Bill, was included in the speech, as were populist measures that do not need legislation at all.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the group Christian Concern, which opposes gay marriage, said the Prime Minister was ‘running scared’ on the issue.
She added: ‘The local elections last week were disastrous for the Conservatives in large part due to the divisive nature of this policy. The voices calling for him to drop it are increasing in number and in volume, both inside and outside of his party.
‘Perhaps the Prime Minister thinks that if he keeps quiet on the issue it will slip through unnoticed.
'But it cannot go unnoticed that there is now absolutely no mandate for this Bill.’
The measure was one of a number of controversial issues left out of the Queen’s Speech.
Ministers have also abandoned a pre-election pledge to allow voters to ‘recall’ MPs found guilty of serious wrongdoing.
Legislation to guarantee lavish aid spending, a crackdown on the lobbying industry and plans to allow the public to sack errant MPs were among a raft of pledges quietly dropped as the Government tried to focus on core messages such as the economy and immigration.
Read more: h
- David Cameron faces battles with his own Tory lawmakers over plans to legalize gay marriage and with his coalition partner, Nick Clegg, over changes to child care designed to cut costs for working parents.
The U.K. House of Commons will again debate gay marriage on May 20. The prime minister only won a preliminary vote on Feb. 5 by relying on the support of his Liberal Democrat coalition partners and the Labour opposition, as 139 Tories rebelled.
After local-election losses last week to the U.K. Independence Party, which campaigns against immigration and the European Union, both traditional Tory concerns, some of Cameron’s members of Parliament are anxious not to alienate their core support further.
“Cameron faces three problems on the gay-marriage vote from MPs on his own side,” Philip Cowley, professor of politics at Nottingham University, said in a telephone interview. “Some are just implacably opposed on principle. Second, because the vote will pass anyway with the other parties’ support, it is a cost-free way to rebel. The third is that as an MP, even if you are not particularly opposed to gay marriage, the activists in your constituency are and they are the ones who will deliver your leaflets in 2015,” when the next general election is held.
Cameron and Clegg, who leads the Liberal Democrats, announced measures yesterday for the next legislative session designed to minimize rebellions, including toughening immigration law and boosting consumer rights. Even so, Clegg today questioned a policy designed to appeal to working parents and women voters Cameron knows he must attract to win in 2015.
- MPs will resume debate of the same-sex marriage bill later this month, it has been announced.
The bill’s remaining stages will be debated on 20 and 21 May, Leader of the Commons Andrew Lansley told MPs on Thursday.
If the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is approved on 21 May, it will then pass to the Lords for further scrutiny.
A group of MPs has been taking detailed evidence on the proposals in a public committee since February.
The House of Commons Public Bill Committee received testimony from both advocates and critics of the bill.
In February, Conservative committee member and equal marriage opponent David Burrowes MP accused PinkNews of “fomenting hostility”, and “abuse” against equal marriage opponents.
He made the remarks as the committee received testimony from PinkNews and Out4Marriage founder, Benjamin Cohen.
Mr Cohen responded: “People are entitled to respond to what an MP says in their own way, but I don’t think that’s what we’re encouraging.”
The MP then admitted: “I wouldn’t say you are,” but went on to question: “So how do we protect the freedom of conscience?”
Mr Cohen responded to say that there was no obligation for everyone to agree with equal marriage as a result of the bill.
He said: “I can’t see anything in the bill which says that anyone would have to agree to people having same-sex marriage. People talk a lot about marriage being redefined – it’s not redefining marriages that already exist. If I got married as a result of this bill, it doesn’t actually affect anyone else, other than other same-sex couples.
The bill completed its committee stage on 12 March 2013.
A senior Downing Street source told PinkNews last Friday, with the bill already going through Parliament, there was no need for it to be mentioned in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech and the source said it was expected that its passage through Parliament would be complete before the summer recess.
The Daily Mail welcomed the apparent absence of the bill from the Queen’s Speech. In an editorial, the paper said: “The Mail is also encouraged by the silence on gay marriage. Is it too much to hope ministers may be having second thoughts about this time-consuming irrelevance, which has alienated so many traditional Tory voters?”
Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told PinkNews last December
- My god - England is REALLY dragging this through the mud. They are really behind compared to other European countries.
- Lord George Carey of Clifton told the House of Lords yesterday that the Government has painted opponents of marriage equality as a “strange breed of non-relevant dinosaurs” while ignoring minority ethnic and religious communities.
Following comments by Lord Fowler on the recent Queen’s Speech, Lord Carey said the Conservative’s push for same-sex marriage had helped create a “broken society”, rather than their intended “big society”.
He has previously argued that David Cameron of has made the UK’s Christians feel persecuted through his push for marriage equality.
Lord Carey’s speech on same-sex marriage in full:-
My Lords, for the second Queen’s Speech running, same-sex marriage legislation is the Bill that dares not speak its name. I want to comment briefly on its absence from the Queen’s Speech because this is another example of a process which to date has been wholly unedifying. Debate and discussion have been curtailed and foreshortened at every turn, as I will illustrate.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, for his powerful and impassioned speech, a great deal of which I agree with. I, too, want a fair, equal society. I, too, want to oppose discrimination in any form. I, too, believe that the other place is the senior Chamber and we must listen to it with respect. However, I am sure that the noble Lord did not wish to suggest that we have no role in scrutinising, challenging and opposing Bills that come before us if we feel it is right to do so. It is not my wish to put forward arguments against the Bill at this stage; I simply want to reflect on the process.
When the Prime Minister took office, he interested many of us when he outlined his plans for a big society. There is, of course, a great need for social cohesion built upon a strong economy and nourished by agreed common values and, in the case of our society, the Judaeo-Christian ethic, but, somehow, along the way the big society vision has been forgotten and in its place we find division and great distress, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Exeter mentioned earlier—indeed, a “broken society”, to quote the Prime Minister once more. Of particular concern to many is the bewilderment caused by a law concerning same-sex marriages which will change the face of society and family with no mandate or even a proper debate.
Of particular concern at this point in the Bill’s passage is, for the first time, the way in which the proposals effectively institutionalise competing views of marriage in our society. Rather than promoting social cohesion, this will lead to greater social fragmentation. Far from ending the so-called battle over marriage, these proposals will formalise and exacerbate that battle. The Bill will lead to a scenario that is destructive for community, thereby necessitating further change in the future.
How did we get to this point? A commitment to legalising same-sex marriage was not in the manifesto of any major political party at the 2010 general election. The Government have not demonstrated at any point evidence that there was a great demand for such a change. The Government produced a so-called public consultation on the introduction of same-sex marriage but declared a timetable for the draft Bill and its implementation before publishing the results of the consultation. Their mind was made up. The consultation was never about whether same-sex marriage should be introduced but how. The Government had promised in the consultation that same-sex marriage would not take place in religious premises. In the draft Bill they did the opposite. The consultation cannot be described as a serious exercise in eliciting the views of the public.
Had the Government listened more and not engaged in a desperate bid to paint all the opponents of this Bill as elderly Christians, a strange breed of non-relevant dinosaurs, perhaps they would have started to address these issues and picked up the chorus of disapproval from those, for example, from our black and minority ethnic communities who have, for no apparent reason, been excluded from the legislative process. The Secretary of State was sent a letter by the leaders of Britain’s so-called black churches, but I understand that she refused to see them. The committee in the other place failed to invite a single black person, Muslim, Sikh or Hindu to give evidence in person.
This Bill represents major constitutional change but was rushed through Second Reading in the House of Commons. The debate was time-limited and contributors to the debate were strictly time-limited in their speeches. I regret to say that the Government have pursued this agenda without paying attention to many voices calling for caution, not just from their back-benchers but from thousands of their grass-roots supporters. The local election results tell the story of a substantial section of the public who are extremely worried about the effect of a redefinition of marriage on family life and the well-being of children. It is not therefore surprising that many feel that they have been frogmarched to this point in time. What is happening will not lead to a strengthening of the notion of a big society but the opposite.
I recognise that there are good and sincere people on both sides of this debate and it is not my intention to question other people’s integrity, but I trust that when the Bill reaches this House, we will pause to consider the pace of change and the effect that it will have on the nation. Indeed, it is my hope that this Chamber, which has shown its independence on important issues in the past, will also demonstrate and talk about the dangers that this Bill represents, if it becomes law.
- Is anyone counting the votes in the House of Lords? Where can one find estimates of how many Lords would support equality and what is being done to get those votes? I am amazed at how little info there is on this from a pro-equality side? In the US, there is countless information and speculation about how the vote will go in each state, but the only information and activity you see on this in the UK is from the antigay side.
- They need to bring more cases from other states before the Mexican Supreme Court.
- The UK is dragging its feet. The Government needs to rush this and ram it rhought.
- A top judicial panel cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Brazil Tuesday, ruling that gay couples could not be denied marriage licenses.
The National Council of Justice, which oversees the Brazilian judicial system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, said government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples.
The Supreme Court "affirmed that the expression of homosexuality and homosexual affection cannot serve as a basis for discriminatory treatment, which has no support in the Constitution," said Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa on the council's website, referring to a 2011 ruling by the top court.
Barbosa also said there was no reason for the government's marriage licensing offices to wait for the Brazilian Congress to pass a law authorizing same-sex marriage.
Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would legalize gay marriage.
The council's decisions are subject to appeal before the Supreme Court.
- RIO DE JANEIRO — The council overseeing Brazil’s judiciary ruled on Tuesday that notary publics cannot refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, a decision that opens the way for gay couples across Latin America’s largest country to marry.
The move by the National Council of Justice, a 15-member panel led by Joaquim Barbosa, the chief justice of the nation’s high court, effectively legalizes gay marriage throughout Brazil, legal scholars here said. The decision follows legislation in two neighboring countries, Argentina and Uruguay, where lawmakers have managed to pass bills authorizing same-sex marriage nationwide in recent years.
Still, there is some room for judicial appeals of the Brazilian decision, potentially within the high court, the Supreme Federal Tribunal, and resistance may emerge in Congress, where gay-marriage legislation has faced opposition from an influential bloc of evangelical Christian lawmakers. Even so, supporters of same-sex marriage described the council’s decision as pioneering.
“This resolution will end the resistance of some courts, judges and notary publics,” said Maria Berenice Dias, the vice president of the Brazilian Institute of Family Law, a nonprofit organization that has sought for years to extend marriage benefits to gay couples.
The National Council of Justice, which includes prominent judges, prosecutors and lawyers, voted 14 to 1 in favor of the measure. Under the council’s decision, notary publics will also be required to convert same-sex civil unions into marriages, if couples wish to do so.
In 2011, the high court ruled by a comfortable margin that same-sex civil unions should be allowed. But while such unions provide couples in Brazil with access to benefits like health insurance and the division of assets in cases of separation, the council’s decision provides same-sex couples who marry the same standing as heterosexuals, allowing them, for instance, to take each other’s surnames and adopt children more easily.
In certain ways, the decision broadens what has already unfolded in different of parts of Brazil, where legislatures in more than 10 states have legalized same-sex marriage.
But even with such laws, many notary publics — who not only certify but also carry out marriage ceremonies in Brazil — have refused to comply for gay couples, a resistance that has been backed by some of the regional judges who oversee them.
“The Supreme Federal Tribunal had already shown that it was supporting minority rights by supporting gay unions,” said Thiago Bottino, a law professor at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, a top university. “The council’s decision is logical, since it would not make sense to deprive people of their rights because some notary publics and judges saw things differently.”
Brazil’s courts generally hew to the decisions of the National Council of Justice, which was created in 2004 and has functioned largely as a disciplinary body for the judiciary. But Congress could be another matter, as tensions simmer between Brazil’s legislative and judicial branches over the high court’s conviction of legislators involved in a vast vote-buying scandal.
Moreover, legislators who oppose same-sex marriage have recently grown more vocal in Congress. Marco Feliciano, a conservative evangelical preacher who now leads the lower house’s commission for human rights and minorities, has drawn criticism for comments that gay-rights activists call homophobic, but he has resisted pressure to step down from the post.
- Conservative MP David Burrowes has told a PinkNews.co.uk reader he is “pro-marriage and not anti-gay” and that the majority of his constituents agree with him in opposing the same-sex marriage bill.
The north London, Enfield-Southgate MP responded to a letter from a PinkNews.co.uk reader, who accused Mr Burrowes of failing to consult with gay and lesbian Tory constituents – many of whom support equal marriage.
In his response to the PinkNews.co.uk reader, Mr Burrowes wrote:
I was sorry to receive your email of 1st March – not so much for you notifying me of your opposition but more the tone of your email. I will remove you from my mailing list as requested.
You refer to the lack of consultation about my views. I share your concern to the extent that the Government has pushed ahead with the proposals without a clear manifesto commitment, and no Green or White Paper. I am responding to their pre-emptive action but at each debate I have been clear about my support for marriage.
The issue of gay marriage is divisive and has led to different opinions across party affiliations, sexual affiliations, faiths, etc. My personal view is shared by an overwhelming majority of constituents who have contacted me. It is a view which is pro-marriage and not anti-gay, a point which is understood by many of my gay friends and constituents.
I support civil partnerships so much so that I do not see the need to change marriage to encompass same-sex couples when it has always existed as a distinctive relationship between a man and a woman.
It is very disappointing that you suggest my opposition to gay marriage is ‘homophobic smearing’. It is that kind of intolerance which encourages me to stand up on behalf of the majority of constituents who will not have the freedom to uphold a traditional view of marriage.
It is particularly disappointing that your disagreement with me on this issue prejudices you from having any engagement with me on other issues.
My door remains open if you want to contact me on other issues local or national. I hope at some point your door will be open to.
Appearing on BBC 2’s Daily Politics on Tuesday, David Burrowes justified calls for a referendum on same-sex marriage and says he would use it to defeat the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Earlier this week, Mr Burrowes warned that the bill resembles the shark in the 1970s thriller movie, Jaws.
The House of Commons will debate the bill as part of its third reading from Monday of next week.
- Retailers close to David Cameron’s constituency office have claimed that their takings are down due to anti-gay marriage protestors.
The Coalition for Marriage, a group that opposes equal rights for same-sex couples has regularly staged protests and leaflet distribution drives outside the Witney Office of the Prime Minister in Oxfordshire.
Earlier this month, the same-sex marriage opponents have delivered a postcard petition signed by 288 people to David Cameron’s Witney constituency office in Oxfordshire.
The postcard stated: “Dear Mr Cameron, Please keep marriage as it is.”
Fiona Fletcher-Marfell, manager of The Old Pill Factory told the Oxford Mail that her antique shop has sen a drop in revenue and that she’d like campaigners to go somewhere else.
She said: “It is not necessarily the cause, it is the lack of thought in this recession of the effects of their actions.
“My takings were definitely down by more than £100 during that period last week, which is normally my busy period. We had less than a quarter of the footfall we would expect.”
Mr Cameron said: “The right to peaceful protest is an integral part of any democratic society and it would not be right for me to intervene in this process.” But he added that he is a “great supporter” of changing the law to give same-sex couples the right to marry.
- Fuck the shithole UK. They've show their true colors about how behind the times they are. And the gays there have shown how lazy they are. You never hear about them protesting or fighting.
- CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — BRAZIL is potentially poised to become the third and largest country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following a judicial order on Tuesday. Argentina was the first, in 2010, after the government brushed aside objections from Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, now the pope. The Uruguayan legislature followed suit last month. Mexico City has allowed such unions since 2010, and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo since 2011.
Brazilian Court Council Removes a Barrier to Same-Sex Marriage (May 15, 2013)
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How can we reconcile these developments with the stereotype of Latin culture as a bastion of religiosity and machismo? How is it that the continent the Catholic Church looks to as its future (along with Africa) is home to what is said to be the largest gay-pride celebration in the world, in São Paulo, Brazil?
The church’s presence in Latin America is undeniable, but its influence on social policy is nothing like that of conservative Christian evangelicals in the United States, nor have the rising numbers of Pentecostals been obsessed with homosexuality like their conservative counterparts up north. Mexico, for instance, has long emphasized separation between church and state and recognizes only civil marriage — that is, clerics can officiate at weddings, but are not empowered to legally marry couples.
Political history is another factor. Since the 1970s, protest movements helped end military dictatorships or long periods of one-party rule; this democratic opening empowered left or center-left governments that have strongly emphasized human rights and individual freedom. Rafael de la Dehesa, a social scientist at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, has shown how gay and lesbian activists piggybacked on this wave of democratization.
The recent expansion of same-sex marriage rights has come about in part through alliances of left-of-center legislative majorities with progressive executives, like Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of Mexico City, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and President José Mujica of Uruguay. In addition, as in the United States, judges have played an important role in advancing the cause of gay equality, as evidenced this week in Brazil, where the National Council of Justice, which oversees the judiciary, ruled that notary publics may not refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. (Judicial appeals, or legislative action, could reverse the decision.)
These achievements were not inevitable; for decades the left, with ideological roots in class struggle, could be as patriarchal and homophobic as the capitalists and soldiers it condemned. So to understand why the politics changed, we must also look to society.
In the 1990s, I interviewed dozens of Mexicans, straight and gay, in Guadalajara, the country’s second largest city. They spoke about how they wanted their lives to differ from their parents’. Women wanted to be recognized as sexual beings, with legitimate desires and the ability to pursue them. Men felt the old models of machismo were constraining, not empowering. As the anthropologist Matthew Gutmann found in Mexico City around the same time, this was the first generation of Mexicans for whom machismo was a dirty word.
This desire for individual autonomy — which in some ways lagged behind the sexual revolution in the United States — extended to gay and lesbian people. The emergence of AIDS as a global epidemic coincided with a period of energetic democratization. Of course, increased visibility generated homophobic reactions, but it also motivated gays to declare their identities and organize politically.
When I arrived in Guadalajara in 1993, gay clubs were hidden from public view. By 1998, clubs populated by gay and straight patrons alike were unremarkable. When I commented to a young gay man that the bars now seemed to be filled with straight people, he replied, “Isn’t that great?” In his view, the bar was “the most fashionable in Guadalajara,” because of its embrace of sexual diversity.
To be sure, as the Mexican anthropologist Guillermo Núñez Noriega notes, this elite is a minority, but its attitudes do seep into the larger population. Mexican media, which reaches even remote rural hamlets, features telenovelas that portray homosexuality in frank (if melodramatic) terms and talk shows where tolerance is a sign of cosmopolitan modernity.
These developments not only undermine stereotypes about machismo, but also the assumption that the prominence of Catholicism makes progressive change impossible. Same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, Portugal and Spain, and Ireland recognizes civil unions. As the United States Supreme Court debates same-sex marriage, perhaps it should consider the precedent set by other nations of the Western Hemisphere.
Héctor Carrillo is an associate professor of sociology and gender and sexuality studies at Northwestern University and the author of “The Night is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS.” He is a 2012-3 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, at Harvard.
- By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent2:07PM BST 17 May 2013
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said that Gay marriage laws have created a "real sense of anger in England" ahead of a parliamentary debate on the proposals next week.
He told BBC1's Question Time: "There was no huge demand for this and we didn't need to spend a lot of parliamentary time and upset vast numbers of people in order to do this.
" I have just never felt that this is what we should be focusing on. This change does redefine marriage. For millions and millions of people who are married, the meaning of marriage changes.
"There is a real sense of anger among many people who are married that any government thinks it has the ability to change the definition of an institution like marriage."
However, a spokesman for David Cameron rejected the claim that too much time had been spent on the issueHe said: "The Prime Minister thinks that the right process is being followed. The government has set out the legislative programme and it is the right one.
"The Prime Minister's position is that he is a big believer in marriage, that's why he thinks gay people should be able to get married too."
On Thursday, David Cameron appeared ready to appease some of the 134 Conservative MPs who voted against his proposals last time by promising to look at extending civil partnerships to all couples in future.
Three Tory MPs, Tim Loughton, Charlotte Leslie and Rob Wilson, have been campaigning for this measure to encourage more couples living together to officially recognise their relationships.
Coalition ministers had previously ruled this out as unnecessary but are now proposing a review of the rules in five years' time. As well as Mr Hammond's intervention, Liam Fox, a senior Tory and former Cabinet minister, said many voters are upset because changing the laws around marriage "affects everyone".
The Prime Minister will be keen to avoid yet more splits in his party over same-sex marriage so soon after more than 100 Tories condemned the official Coalition position on Europe.
They voted to express regret at the Queen's Speech for not containing laws that promise a referendum on the EU because the Lib Dems are blocking it.
Mr Cameron dampened that revolt by publishing Conservative draft laws pledging an EU poll, which will be brought forward by a backbencher and later debated in parliament. However, some of the same rebels are likely to cause trouble for him again next week over same-sex weddings.
Some opponents of gay marriage are "resigned" to the laws passing, while others are campaigning for further changes, such as the concession on civil partnerships.
Mr Loughton, a former children's minister, wants MPs to vote for his amendment to the gay marriage laws to bring in equal civil partnerships sooner than the Government's 2019 review.
Speaking in BBC Radio Four's Today programme, he denied this was a spoiling tactic designed to derail the entire Bill.
“The genie is out of the box. The Government has already created two tiers by bringing in gay marriage. We just need to be consistent here.
“There’s a lot of people who for whatever reason ... don't want to get involved with the whole paraphernalia of marriage but are in a committed relationship and a third of them have children as well.
Civil partnerships were introduced under Labour in 2005 as a means of allowing gay couples to formalise their relationships in law, offering them the same legal rights and recognition as married couples. Some 50,000 civil partnerships have been formed so far.
The same-sex marriage Bill, which would legalise marriage for gay and lesbian couples for the first time, returns to the Commons to begin its closing stages of debate next week.
A campaign led by the human rights activist, Peter Tatchell, has been calling for gay couples to be allowed to marry and heterosexual couples to be able to enter civil partnerships.
Some heterosexual campaigners say they do not like marriage because of its "patriarchal history" and want to be called partners rather than "husband" and "wife", while enjoying full legal rights.
- A Conservative MP has denied that the amendment that he has tabled to the Government's Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is designed to wreck it.
A Cabinet minister said this week that there was "no huge demand" for the Bill, which had caused "a real sense of anger" among married people.
Tim Loughton MP, a Conservative former Children's Minister, has tabled an amendment to the Bill to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. The Government is opposed to including the change in the Bill, fearing that this could lead to a delay in its implementation. The Bill will be debated at Report Stage in the House of Commons on Monday and Tuesday.
On Thursday night, the Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, said that the Government would offer MPs "the opportunity to have a review of this area, rather than legislating now without the required evidence".
Mr Loughton voted against the Bill at its Second Reading. He told BBC Radio 4's Today on Friday morning that, even if his amendment was passed, he would "still have a problem" with same-sex marriage. He denied that this meant that the amendment was an attempt to "spoil the Bill".
Writing on the Conservative Home website, Mr Loughton said that his amendment would promote "a more pragmatic and contemporary form of family values, even if they do not amount to full-blown traditional marriage".
On Thursday night, speaking on Question Time on BBC1, the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, said of the Bill: "There is a real sense of anger among many people who are married that any government thinks it has the ability to change the definition of an institution like marriage."
He said: "I have just never felt that this is what we should be focusing on. . . There was no huge demand for this, and we didn't need to spend a lot of parliamentary time and upset vast numbers of people in order to do this.
The Bill was published in January ( News, 25 January) and passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons by 400 votes to 175 in February (News, 8 February). It has since been examined at Committee Stage by MPs, who have received evidence from church figures (News, 15 February, 22 February).
The Conservative MP David Burrowes, a leading opponent of the Bill, and a member of Christians in Parliament, wrote on the Conservative Home website on Monday that "not one word" of the Bill was amended at Committee Stage, despite the Bill Committee's having sat 13 times. This was despite "numerous amendments" tabled by Mr Burrowes "and three other dissenters" on the Committee.
Nevertheless, Mr Burrowes and colleagues have tabled several amendments to be considered by MPs at Report Stage. These include an amendment ensuring "that designated religious schools are not required . . . to promote views of marriage that are contrary to their religious beliefs, whilst accepting that they will teach the existence of the new legal definition of marriage". Mr Burrowes said that the Bill as it stood did not "explicitly protect" the freedom of religious schools not to promote same-sex marriage.
Other amendments include one preventing marriage registrars' "being compelled to solemnise same-sex marriage against their consciences", and one clarifying "that merely discussing or criticising same-sex marriage is not, on its own, a form of discrimination for the purpose of equality law".
The latter amendment, Mr Burrowes said, sought to prevent "disproportionate" action against employees who criticised same-sex marriage. He referred to the case of Adrian Smith, a housing manager who was demoted for posting a comment on Facebook opposing gay marriage (News, 28 October 2011, 23 November 2012).
A briefing issued by the Church of England Parliamentary Unit on Thursday reiterates opposition to the Bill. Besides the concerns outlined by Mr Burrowes, the briefing expresses agreement with the Government's view that the Bill should not be amended to introduce civil partnerships for couples of the opposite sex. This would "introduce further confusion about the place of marriage in society". It also agrees with the Government's opposition to introducing a "celebrant-based system" for marriages which would enable Humanists, among others, to conduct weddings.
Mrs Miller told the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday that the Government had tabled an amendment to the Bill to protect chaplains employed by organisations such as hospitals, the armed force, and universities from being compelled to officiate at same-sex marriages.
"Hospital chaplains will be protected in exactly the same way as any other clergy, and should not be forced to conduct marriages of same sex," she said.
- The UK can go fuck itself. Hardly the "hip" country it thinks it is. Talk about being behind the times.
- France became the 14th country to legalise same-sex marriage Saturday after President Francois Hollande signed it into law following months of bitter political debate.
Hollande acted a day after the Constitutional Council threw out a legal challenge by the right-wing opposition, which had been the last obstacle to passing the bill into law. The legislation also legalises gay adoption.
- French President Francois Hollande has signed a law authorizing gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, after months of nationwide protests and wrenching debate.
His signature means the first gay marriages may be celebrated in France within about 10 days. Hollande's office said he signed the bill Saturday morning, a day after the Constitutional Council struck down a challenge to the law.
Hollande, a Socialist, had made legalizing gay marriage one of his campaign pledges last year. While polls for years have shown majority support for gay marriage in France, adoption by same-sex couples is more controversial. The bill prompted months of widespread protests, largely by conservative and religious groups. Some were marred by clashes with police. It became a flashpoint for frustrations at the increasingly unpopular Hollande.
- Mercredi 29 mai, la maire socialiste de Montpellier, Hélène Mandroux, célèbrera le premier mariage entre personnes de même sexe en France, celui de Vincent et Bruno, en couple depuis sept ans.
Collection JB Martin
Voir la collection1/5
Ils seront les tout premiers à se dire oui. Vincent et Bruno, en couple depuis 7 ans, se marieront le mercredi 29 mai à Montpellier. Impossible se marier plus tôt, car la loi exige un délai de dix jours entre la publications des bans et la célébration de l'union. Les autorités doivent aussi pendant ce temps publier un décret d'application de la loi et le ministère de la Justice délivrer un arrêté pour opérer les modifications nécessaires du Livret de famille.
En attendant, le couple a déjà tout prévu. Militant de la cause homosexuelle, Vincent Autin a expliqué ce samedi sur BFM-TV qu'un vin d'honneur citoyen serait ouvert à tous. «Même si c'est un soir de semaine, on fera la fête jusqu'au bout de la nuit», s'est réjoui par avance le futur marié. Mais leur union étant «un mariage d'amour» et «non un mariage militant», les deux se réservent un second temps privé, avec les proches et la familles.
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem fera le déplacement. La ministre du Droit des femmes avait promis en septembre dernier que le premier mariage gay aurait lieu à Montpellier, une ville parfois surnommée la «San Francisco française», eu égard «aux engagements des associations et de l'appel au mariage lancé par Hélène Mandroux en 2009».
- Gays and lesbians demonstrated in Venezuela’s capital Saturday to push for an end to discrimination and for civil rights such as same-sex marriage.
“In some areas of the capital, two men cannot be seen holdings hands without security ushering them out,” said Cesar Sequera, who leads Diverse Venezuela, among marchers waving signs like “Say yes to inclusion.”
Sequera said the dozens taking part in the protest wanted to see the end of persecution of lesbians, gays and transsexuals in Venezuela — and were seeking the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Bills seeking more rights for gays and lesbians have been “blocked by the religious fundamentalism which holds sway in the National Assembly,” he said of the socialist government’s main legislative force in the legislature.
But gay marriage has not come before lawmakers in the South American nation.
Uruguay’s legislature voted last month to allow same-sex marriages nationwide, making it only the second Latin American country to do so.
Argentina approved gay marriage in 2010. Same-sex marriage has been permitted in Mexico City, but not the rest of the country, since 2009.
- ory activists attack David Cameron on gay marriage
The bill is due to be debated for two days from Monday
Continue reading the main story
Hollande signs gay marriage bill
Q&A: Gay marriage
PM proud same-sex love to be equal
David Cameron's support for gay marriage has made winning the general election "virtually impossible", Conservative activists have said.
In a letter to the PM, more than 30 past and present local party chairmen warned his backing for a change of law had led to voters switching to UKIP.
They said many would not return unless the plans were abandoned "or the party leadership changed".
MPs will debate the Marriage Bill for England and Wales on Monday.
'Unravelling of marriage'
The letter to Mr Cameron was organised by the Conservative Grassroots umbrella group.
Continue reading the main story
For the sake of our children they should also strengthen conventional marriage”
Its chairman Bob Woollard said: "The prime minister's bizarre drive to ram this legislation through Parliament, without any democratic mandate and without the support of party members, has been a disaster and has driven thousands of voters to UKIP.
"The marriage-based family is at the heart of Conservatism.
"This dilution and unravelling of marriage has de-motivated many ordinary, loyal Conservative Party members and has undermined their years of hard work for something they believed in.
"It makes winning the next election virtually impossible... For the sake of our children they should also strengthen conventional marriage."
The letter said Mr Cameron's "refusal to listen to reason and grassroots opinion is causing many previously loyal Conservatives to leave the party - some are lost forever and many will not contemplate re-joining unless the Bill is abandoned or the party leadership changed".
It said the legislation for same-sex unions had also undermined work to win support in ethnic minority groups "who cannot comprehend how a Conservative prime minister can be promoting a Bill that will redefine marriage in a way which is contrary to their religious and cultural beliefs and practices".
In a separate letter to Mr Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Muslim leaders attacked the plans.
More than 500 community leaders and imams signed the letter, which stated "marriage is a sacred contract between a man and a woman that cannot be redefined".
They wrote: "We believe that marriage between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of family life, the only institution within which to raise children.
"We are concerned that this radical change to the institution of marriage will impact what is taught in schools. Muslim teachers will be forced into the contradictory position of holding private beliefs, whilst teaching a new legal definition of marriage.
"Muslim parents will be robbed of their right to raise their children according to their beliefs, as gay relationships are taught as something normal to their primary-aged children."
Supporters of gay marriage argue that separate civil partnerships perpetuate the notion that same-sex relationships are not as valid as heterosexual ones and that legal rights are still not exactly the same as those conferred by marriage.
Campaigners also say there would be international recognition for same-sex marriage.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill returns to the Commons on Monday for two days of debate.
In the bill, the Church of England and the Church in Wales will be banned from offering same-sex marriages because of their strong stated opposition, unless they change canon law. Other religious organisations will be able to "opt in" to holding ceremonies.
There are currently no plans for similar legislation in Northern Ireland, but there are already plans for a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland.
- Leaders representing tens of thousands of worshippers at mosques across the country, have signed a joint letter to The Sunday Telegraph accusing the Government of attacking “the cornerstone of family life”
It is the first time that Muslim leaders have made a collective intervention on the issue and underlines the strength of feeling among ethnic minority voters.
Organisers said Muslim opposition should be seen as a challenge to David Cameron’s claims to be acting in the interests of “equality” and “diversity”.
In the letter – published as MPs prepare for their final Commons debate on the Government’s same-sex marriage bill – they quote the Koran and say they are fulfilling a “sacred trust to God” by airing their views.
Echoing comments by Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy, they describe marriage as a “sacred contract between a man and a woman” which they say “cannot be redefined”.
Tory who called activists swivel-eyed loons 'should be reprimanded' 19 May 2013
Ukip reports surge in interest since Tory branded activists "swivel-eyed loons" 19 May 2013
Muslim leaders stand against gay marriage 18 May 2013
Swivel-eyed loons hit back: Tory activists furious over 'mad' slur 18 May 2013
Tory activists urge Cameron to drop gay marriage backing 19 May 2013
They also voice concerns about the status of teachers in faith schools and claim Muslim parents will be “robbed” of the opportunity to bring their children up in line with the faith.
Organisers acknowledged that the Muslim voice had been virtually “silent” on the issue thus far but said they now felt compelled to speak.
Imam Suliman Gani, of Tooting Mosque in south London, who led efforts to gather the signatures, said Muslim leaders “salute” the Christian clergy who had been vocal opponents of the Government on the issue.
He said many imams had been wary of airing their views publicly because of the negative way Islam is often portrayed, leaving them believing they would be ignored.
But, significantly, he said that because Christianity appeared to be under “attack”, Muslim leaders felt compelled to enter the fray.
Referring to a letter published in The Daily Telegraph earlier this year, he said: “There were 1,000 priests who signed a letter – yet they have been ignored so we felt we had to do this.
“I salute those priests who have taken a stand.”
He added: “The Muslim community will take this issue very, very seriously because now the Government has interfered with family.
“To us that is like taking children away from their mother: it will definitely have an effect on Mr Cameron’s vote.
“We cannot understand how it was possible that this was introduced so fast – but we cannot give up.
“We celebrate diversity, we want to have a peaceful coexistence with all people but our main concern in the mosques is the way the Government is changing the definition of marriage and what impact that will have on the children.”
The letter has been signed by 505 imams and mosque chairmen from London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, Luton, Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Dewsbury, Newcastle, Bradford, Huddersfield and Nottingham among other cities.
- The government is reported to be attempting to compromise with the 150 Tory MPs set to oppose the same-sex marriage bill, by considering amendments giving protection to “conscientious objectors”.
MPs are to resume debate on the same-sex marriage bill tomorrow, and if approved on Tuesday it will pass to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.
The Times reports that, of those MPs, around 150 Conservatives are planning to defy David Cameron by opposing the bill or backing amendments to it, among them Cabinet Ministers.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond already voiced his opposition to the bill in a Question Time appearance last week, in which he said the bill had “upset vast numbers of people”.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling, and Cabinet Office Minister John Hayes are also expected to back amendments to the bill allowing teachers, registrars and faith schools leeway not to uphold the bill if they conscientiously object to it.
Compromises taking place behind the scenes in Parliament may result in amendments allowing teachers not to include same-sex relationships in their lessons, and permitting registrars not to marry same-sex couples, in order to keep as many Tory MPs on board as possible.
A source told the Sunday Times the government is “in listening mode” when it comes to marriage equality objections, and that they were trying ”to plug some of the gaps before it goes to the Lords.”
Amendments were tabled by Conservative MP David Burrowes, who last week called for a referendum on same-sex marriage, adding that he hoped it would result in the defeat of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
There have also been calls for the bill to allow opposite-sex couples to be able to have civil partnerships. The move is opposed by the government, but last week Culture Secretary Maria Miller allowed that a review on civil partnerships would take place exactly five years from the point when the same-sex marriage bill comes into law for England and Wales.
The debate has caused embarrassment for David Cameron and was labelled an attempt to “derail” the same-sex marriage bill by Tory MP Mike Freer, while LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell said a review of civil partnerships for straight couples was unnecessary, as the idea already has public support.
In a letter to David Cameron this weekend, 30 past and present local Conservative chairs from the party’s Grassroots organisation warned that his push for same-sex marriage had made winning the general election “virtually impossible”.
- David Cameron is facing calls to deal with damaging rifts with Tory activists over Europe and gay marriage.
The Prime Minister is battling on several fronts after a week that has seen party divisions erupt over Europe and a row blow up with party grassroots.
Former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe has now waded in, declaring that Mr Cameron is losing control of his party.
He suggested the leadership was "running scared" of backbenchers and had allowed euroscepticism to "infect the very soul of the party".
With gay marriage legislation due to return to the Commons on Monday, Mr Cameron looks set to be facing another torrid week.
A petition from local associations attacking his support for the Bill was handed in to Downing Street on Sunday.
Local party chairmen past and present say Mr Cameron's support for the idea makes it "virtually impossible" for the Tories to win the next general election.
"The marriage-based family is at the heart of Conservatism," they wrote in a letter.
"This dilution and unravelling of marriage has demotivated many ordinary loyal Conservative party members and has undermined their years of hard work for something they believed in.
"It makes winning the next election virtually impossible.
"It is vital the PM and those around him concentrate on the issues that matter to voters - cleaning up the economic mess left by the previous government, tackling immigration and sorting out the Europe question."
Hundreds of Muslim leaders also criticised the gay marriage plans in a letter to leaders of the three main political parties.
They said marriage is a "sacred contract between a man and a woman that cannot be redefined".
Tory former minister Nick Herbert, appearing on Sky's Murnaghan programme, insisted the law was needed to reflect the modern world.
"What harm is being done by this Bill? None. For those that are concerned about their own belief, they are entitled to their own belief but actually for the majority this is something that people are saying does reflect change in society."
Tory vice-chairman Bob Neill acknowledged there were "different views" within the Conservative Party on the issue but insisted there was "respect" on both sides.
Tory party members are already upset at claims that one of Mr Cameron's inner circle described them as "swivel eyed loons".
Lord Feldman, a friend of the PM's from university and co-chairman of the party, has denied making the comments and says he is taking legal advice.
But the damage has already been done because the reports have added to perceptions that the leadership is too far removed from grassroot opinion.
In a further blow, a new poll from ComRes found around half of people (48%) "disagreed" that Mr Cameron had enough authority over his party to be a good Prime Minister.
The same poll put Tory support at 29%, down from 31% in February. Labour were on 35%, the Liberal Democrats 8% and Ukip 19%, according to the survey of 2,017 adults.
Lord Howe, who triggered Margaret Thatcher's downfall in the 90s, suggested that Mr Cameron had brought on the row over Europe himself by pledging to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership.
"By making it clear in January that he opposes the current terms of UK membership of the EU, the Prime Minister has opened a Pandora's box politically and seems to be losing control of his party in the process," he wrote in The Observer.
"The ratchet effect of euroscepticism has now gone so far that the Conservative leadership is in effect running scared of its own backbenchers, let alone UKIP, having allowed deep anti-Europeanism to infect the very soul of the party.
"The risk now is that, if it loses the next general election - a far from negligible possibility - the Conservative party will move to a position of simply opposing Britain's continued membership, with or without a referendum."
Meanwhile, the fall out over the "loons" claim continued as the Tories attempted to avoid damaging rift with volunteers.
A spokesman said the Prime Minister has the "highest regard" for party activists and praised their "incredibly hard work".
According to the Daily Telegraph and The Times, the claim was made by a figure with "strong social connections" to Mr Cameron.
However, Grant Shapps, who co-chairs the party with Lord Feldman, insisted: "I don't believe it's ever been said."
"It's not an attitude or a view I have ever heard expressed in Number 10," he said. "We respect and work with people who work incredibly hard as volunteers."
In a statement, Lord Feldman denied being the source of the alleged comments, saying: "I would like to make it quite clear that I did not nor have ever described our associations in this way or in any similar manner."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that he did not believe the reported comments.
He said: "The person who is alleged to have said that has denied it, and I know the individual and I trust him - he's a man of great honour."
Mr Neill added on Sky News: "I think we have to be very, very wary of this, I think, rather slipshod bit of journalism."
He said he had never heard Lord Feldman "or anyone in central office or in Downing Street say anything of that kind".
- Lobbying over gay marriage intesifies
Gay marriage is up there with stem cell research and abortion in terms of divisiveness, but David Cameron is still pushing the issue. Adam Hill looks at who is supporting the prime minister – and who is not
In the first couple of weeks back from their lengthy summer break, parliamentarians will have much on their minds: conference, coalition tensions and the upcoming legislative programme will dominate thoughts, discussions and announcements.
Yet one of the most potentially divisive issues of the coming months didn’t even feature in this year’s Queen’s Speech: the proposal to extend the legal right to marriage to same-sex couples. This may be the one which has backbenchers – particularly in marginal seats – getting nervously animated on a subject which has the potential to be a real vote-loser in the Tory heartlands.
Same-sex marriage is already legal in a number of countries, including Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, Argentina, Denmark and South Africa. At the moment in the UK, the law only allows marriage between a male and a female, although same-sex couples have been able to form civil partnerships since 2005. The controversial new idea is to allow gay couples to have civil marriages in a registry office or premises such as a hotel – although even if this new law is passed, getting married in church will still only be possible between a man and a woman.
The non-appearance of what Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill called a “modest measure” in the Queen’s Speech disappointed the gay campaign group. “Stonewall will fight on to push both coalition parties to deliver on their promise to implement this measure by 2015,” he said. “We trust that extension of the legal form of marriage to gay people isn’t going to turn into a ‘tuition fees’ issue, announced with much hoopla in the run-up to an important election and then abandoned”.
That does not seem to be an issue, for it is not only gay rights groups which are in favour of same-sex couples tying the knot: prime minister David Cameron could not have nailed his colours more firmly to this particular mast, in a show of defiance which has been greeted by dismay from many of his supporters. Cameron has said he supports gay marriage “because I am a Conservative”. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has recorded a YouTube video for the Out4Marriage campaign, and even goes so far as to say, in a clear break with Cameron, that churches should be able to conduct same-sex marriages.
Their enthusiasm is not universally shared. Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson and children’s minister Tim Loughton have both said they cannot support gay marriage, while defence secretary Philip Hammond has said it should not be a priority. A phalanx of high profile Conservatives, including Ann Widdecombe and Edward Leigh, are among nearly 600,000 people who have signed a petition, organised by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), against a law change. No great surprise there, perhaps – but Labour MPs Jim Dobbin, Joe Benton and Mary Glindon have also signed the C4M petition, proving that the issue is not split entirely on party lines.
God is – or at least organised religious groups are – also against the idea. For its opponents, talk of allowing same-sex marriage is part of a pernicious attempt to ‘redefine’ the institution. Cameron has been portrayed as arrogant and sneering, and his plans as madness.
The Christian Institute has found some rather unlikely bedfellows, invoking the words of singer George Michael and TV star Christopher Biggins, both of whom say that civil partnerships go far enough for them. The group’s campaigning has a less punchy feel to it than its failed efforts in 2002 to influence amendments to the Adoption and Children Bill to allow unmarried and gay couples to adopt children. Back then it produced thousands of mocked-up adoption cards which read: “In the event of my death, I do not want my children to be adopted by homosexuals.” This time round the emphasis is on highlighting the fact that some gay people see it as unecessary, and that grassroots opinion is being ignored.
It has also not escaped its attention that Cameron has given house room to gay rights groups. Talking about one such reception at Number 10 this year, the Christian Institute is scathing. “While ordinary people struggle to pay their bills, he’s hosting a lavish Downing Street party for gay celebrities and activists, using the event to look down his nose at the church,” said the institute’s comms director Mike Judge. “Voters would rather he was working to boost the flagging economy, not meddling with marriage and lecturing the church.”
The approach of the C4M campaign also has a grassroots feel. “We are listening to ordinary people who are uncomfortable with an institution older than 1,000 years being redefined,” a spokesman tells Public Affairs News. “You can’t really ignore 600,000 signatures. Gay community groups are saying: ‘It’s not even a priority for us’. Curiously, the government has gone silent on the issue recently, which perhaps indicates they are prepared to listen.” This may have something to do with the summer recess, of course.
The opposition is well-organised, however, with a crossover between C4M and other established groups whose stance is avowedly anti-gay marriage: Colin Hart, C4M’s campaign manager is also director of the Christian Institute, while Evangelical Alliance’s head of public affairs Don Horrocks is also a director of C4M, for example.
C4M’s petition will remain open “as long as necessary”, despite the Home Office consultation exercise on a change to the law – believed to have received more than 100,000 responses – having finished in June. At the 520,000-signature mark, it was delivered to Number 10 and to the Home Office. “We have engaged repeatedly,” the spokesman continued. He accuses the government of “lobbying behind closed doors” and of holding a “sham consultation”. Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone has certainly suggested that the coalition will push the law through whatever happens.
This is the chink in the government’s armour, according to its opponents. “Our advocacy strategy has been to demonstrate the scale of public opposition to the redefinition of marriage and remind our politicians that we live in a democratic country,” says a spokesperson for the Evangelical Alliance. “These have been our reference points in public debate, media commentary and in discussion with politicians that are supportive of our work.”
But C4M has in turn inspired a counter-attack from a gay couple from Newcastle. Conor Marron and his partner James Lattimore set up the Coalition for Equal Marriage (C4EM) in response largely to the language being used by C4M supporters. “It was mainly the words of Lord Carey at the launch of C4M’s campaign and Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s infamous ‘grotesque subversion’ speech which led us to set up the campaign,” explains Lattimore.
Former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey called the plan ‘cultural vandalism’ and respected church leaders such as the current archbishop Rowan Williams have also voiced concerns – but some opponents of the law change believe they are being dismissed as homophobes simply for having firm views on what marriage should be.
There is a legal argument too – which O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic, also made – that marriage is an accepted concept, defined by Article 16 of the universal declaration of human rights, but that churches will find themselves forced by equalities legislation to do something they do not want to. Pro-gay marriage campaigners dispute this. “It’s not the case,” says Tim Hopkins, director of Equality Network, which campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Scotland. “Article 9 of the European convention on human rights guarantees freedom of religion. In Scotland, registrars will perform same-sex marriages and churches will be free to decide for themselves.”
This is a crucial difference from the Westminster proposal, which takes churches out of the equation altogether and focuses on civil, not religious, marriages.
Even so, opponents are unimpressed. “The plans to redefine marriage are unnecessary, unpopular, divisive, and a vote-loser,” says Judge. “It is high time they were dumped.”
Yet if anything, they are being taken up rather than dumped. In Northern Ireland, parties are jockeying for position on the issue even though there are no plans yet at Stormont to legalise gay marriage. The ruling council of the Alliance Party was due to vote this month on whether it should adopt a policy in favour – following Sinn Fein – while the Democratic Unionist Party, many of whose MLAs are high profile signatories of C4M’s petition, is staunchly against.
But it is in Scotland that things are most advanced, with the ruling Scottish National Party already having consulted and announced plans to make gay marriage legal (see box). This is music to the ears of campaigners such as Equality Network. “Our top priority since 2009 has been same-sex marriage,” explains Hopkins. “There were petitions to the Scottish Parliament in 2009, which rejected it, but it was clear in 2010 that the parliament was thinking about it.”
At the 2011 election four out of the five main parties had something in their manifesto on the issue: the Greens and Lib Dems to legalise same-sex marriage, the SNP and Labour to consult on it. Only the Conservatives demurred, and the party stance in Scotland has since changed. Hopkins praises the work of LGBT Youth Scotland, the Scottish Youth Parliament and National Union of Students for their work with Equality Network on the issue, both on the consultation itself and subsequently. “We did a lot of work getting commitment from opposition leaders and MSPs,” he says.
Hopkins’ figures suggest 74 MSPs are set to vote to legalise same-sex marriage, with 10 voting against and the intentions of 44 as yet unknown.
Back in Westminster, C4EM believes it likewise has a good handle on MPs’ voting intentions (see box) and is determined to keep up the pressure. “There are still large gaps, and we’ll be back in touch with MPs once the results of the consultation and any proposed legislation have been announced,” says Lattimore.
Opponents of gay marriage are stressing democracy, supporters are concentrating on fairness. It is unlikely that the issue will be absent from next year’s Queen’s Speech.
- Government pleads with Labour to save gay marriage bill
Tory rebellion on amendment to grant civil partnerships to heterosexual couples will 'cost £4bn and take two years'
Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent
The Guardian, Sunday 19 May 2013
David Cameron has been accused by the Conservative Grassroots group of showing ‘utter contempt’ for party activists.
Downing Street issued a stark warning that the bill to legalise gay marriage will run into grave trouble – and cost the taxpayer an extra £4bn – if the Labour party joins forces with Tory opponents to vote in favour of granting civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.
As David Cameron was accused by the Conservative Grassroots group of showing "utter contempt" for party activists by pressing ahead with plans to equalise marriage, Labour sources voiced fears that No 10 appeared to be trying to find ways of killing the bill.
The row erupted as No 10 braced itself for a loss of face as up to 150 Tory MPs prepare to show their opposition to the prime minister during a series of votes when the marriage (same sex couples) bill reaches its report stage in the Commons today.
At least two cabinet ministers – the environment secretary Owen Paterson and the Wales secretary David Jones – are prepared to vote for a series of amendments that would grant exemptions to teachers and registrars.
Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, and John Hayes, the prime minister's unofficial envoy to the Tory right, may also side with opponents of the bill during a series of votes, which are "free" – allowing MPs to vote with their consciences.
The government warned of three dangers to the bill if an amendment to grant civil partnerships to heterosexual couples is passed. It is being tabled by the former children's minister Tim Loughton who opposes gay marriage. A government source said the Loughton amendment would:
• Come with a price tag of £4bn. Steve Webb, the pensions minister, told parliament's joint committee on human rights last week that the state would be liable for new "survivors'" pension rights.
• Delay the introduction of the entire bill by 18 to 24 months because the government would need to work on the joint implementation of new rights for gay married couples and heterosexual couples in new civil partnerships.
• Complicate the government's argument that the changes are about strengthening the institution of marriage by opening it to all couples. "If you open up civil partnerships to opposite sex couples then the institution of marriage will be weakened," one government source said. "The church will not be happy about that."
Government sources said the warnings were aimed at Ed Miliband, Labour's leader, whose support for the amendment will be decisive. One source said: "Ed Miliband clearly wants to make political capital here. Perhaps he should think of the consequences."
But Labour rejected what it called the "farcical" warnings, as sources noted that the supposed size of the "price tag" had grown from £3bn to £4bn in five days. One source said: "They are wrecking this bill themselves and trying to blame others."
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary and shadow equalities minister, who has been negotiating with the equalities minister Maria Miller, told Sky News: "I think it's a real problem if this gets lost in the vortex of the Tory infighting that we had over the last couple of weeks when actually it's a really positive bill that we should all want to celebrate."
Loughton accused the government of scaremongering after issuing its warnings about the dangers posed by his amendment. The former minister told the Guardian: "This scaremongering just won't wash. The government has come up with a lot of desperate last-minute excuses as to why giving full equality of civil partnerships will not work. This is what comes when you try to redefine marriage without having thought through the consequences. One of those consequences is that the majority of the population and MPs clearly want equality for civil partnerships. The government bill, as it stands, will deny
Federal MPs are shifting towards support for gay marriage, Foreign Minister Bob Carr says.
Federal cabinet minister Bob Carr says the parliamentary numbers may be shifting in support of legalising same-sex marriage.
Senator Carr's comments come after former prime minister Kevin Rudd said on Monday he had changed his mind on gay marriage and now believed parliament should make it legal.
"I think any observer would say there's an underlying trend as members of parliament give it more consideration and listen to the arguments to legalising same-sex marriage," Senator Carr told ABC radio on Tuesday.
He also acknowledged there was "considerable support" for legalising same-sex marriage among coalition MPs.
Mr Rudd said any legal recognition for gay marriage should make religious institutions exempt from having to change their own practices.
Last September Mr Rudd was one of 98 MPs who voted against a marriage equality bill.
But on Monday he recounted a recent conversation with a gay, "God-botherer" former political staffer who told him he hoped to get married to another man one day.
The encounter led Mr Rudd to rethink his position.
Senior Liberal George Brandis said Mr Rudd's comments were more about personal ambitions than about the issue of same-sex marriage.
"It's not about same-sex marriage," he told Sky News.
"What it tells you is that Kevin Rudd has not given up, Kevin Rudd is at it again."
Senator Brandis said the former prime minister was continuing to "dance this dance" in front of the media for as long as he possibly could because his caucus supporters had not given up hope of him returning as Labor leader.
"Every time they see a depressing opinion poll result, they're at it again," he said.
The Australian Christian Lobby says Mr Rudd's announcement was a huge disappointment for Christians.
This left their hopes for the "preservation of marriage" with the coalition and Christian-based minor parties, managing director Lyle Shelton said.
"If this is an attempt to wedge Julia Gillard, it will cost Mr Rudd the last of his following in the Christian constituency," he said in a statement.
Mr Shelton said Mr Rudd's position on legalising same-sex marriage would mean parents would have their children "taught the mechanics of homosexual sex" in school sex education classes.
Labor backbencher Stephen Jones said Mr Rudd had followed a path taken by many MPs who had begun instinctively with scepticism or opposition.
"They (who) sat down and thought about it, or who have been confronted with personal stories, they realised it is time to change the law," Mr Jones told ABC radio.
Mr Jones said sentiment on the issue was changing and legalising gay marriage was "inevitable".
"At some stage over the next five years, we will have a change of law in our country," he said.
Mr Jones introduced the same-sex marriage bill that was defeated in parliament last year.
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said he respected Mr Rudd's decision and urged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to allow coalition MPs a conscience vote on the issue.
"This is an issue where views are deeply held and that's why it's appropriate that we have a conscience vote in the parliament," Swan told reporters in Adelaide.
- Labour Whips @labourwhips 4m
Vote now on third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Result around 1915 #equalmarriage
- House of Commons @HouseofCommons 1m
MPs vote by 366 to 161 to approve the third reading of #Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The Bill will now progress to the House of Lords.