Bryan Fischer, a Christian radio host in the US has gained notoriety world-wide and stolen some of the media attention around the US Supreme Court historic ruling on Defence Of Marriage Act last week, by saying the New Yorker magazine’s cover “promoted child abuse”, simply by featuring Sesame Street characters cuddling at the news.
This popular and long running New Yorker magazine features Bert and Ernie snuggling up to each other on a sofa, while an image of the US Supreme Court Justices appears on their television screen. It’s simple, it’s cute, it doesn’t have them kissing or in any way acting inappropriately yet that didn’t stop the anti-gay, anti-equality Bryan Fischer spouting out a great deal of hate.
The Christian radio host launched his attack during his Focal Point programme saying the characters were engaged in a “homosexual clinch”. Adding “I don’t know which is which” continuing: “This is grossly irresponsible for The New Yorker to promote this, they really are promoting child endangerment and they are promoting child abuse.”
Fischer also quoted figures from the heavily criticised Regnerus Study, published in July 2012, which was titled “How Different Are The Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study”. Its findings were refuted by many and deemed “flawed and misleading” with a lack of fact.
Many have believed that the two Sesame Street characters were a gay couple over the years, some 10,000 people even signed an online petition during 2011, urging the creators to allow the ‘couple’ to get married.
The Sesame Street workshop issued a statement at the time which stated: “Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though the Sesame Street Muppets … possess many human traits and characteristics, they have no sexual orientation.” Of course it had nothing to do with their Christian sponsors threatening to pull out if Bert and Ernie did end up getting hitched to each other.
Just recently the US Supreme Court struck down the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA), which federally defined marriage as between one man and one woman. A second case, centred around California’s Proposition 8, the Supreme Court ruled that such a ruling was not in its jurisdiction, nor was it in the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court, which previously ruled, therefore deferring the decision to a previous ruling by a district court which decided the ban was unconstitutional.
Top showman, entertainer and actor John Barrowman married his long term partner Scott Gill last week, after a 20-year committed relationship.
The couple had already entered into a civil partnership back in 2006, however following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) recently, Barrowman and his partner Scott Gill were delighted to legally marry in the state of California.
Barrowman himself announced the news via a video clip before posting a photo after their special ceremony. During the short video John can be seen addressing the camera, saying: “It’s five after one and we’ve got our coffee and we’re in the car getting ready to leave, because where are we going, Scott?” The Torchwood star then turned the camera on his partner Gill, who replies: “To get married. Yay!”
He closes the video with a reference to the overturning of DOMA last week, adding: “We’re getting married in the state of California. Thank you Supreme Court, about time you made it legal. See you after we have the ceremony!”
The happy newlyweds later posted a photograph of themselves with their marriage certificate, writing: “We are now legally married. Thanks for all your great wishes. JB and Scott.”
The couple have always been open about their desire to get married telling many in the media they would just as soon as it became legal to do so in the US. They have also indicated in interviews that would like to have children too, when the time was right – “We haven’t ruled out having children ourselves but it depends where my career takes us.” John claimed in an interview in the UK’s Sun newspaper last year.
“We wouldn’t want a baby. We’d look at adopting an older child or teenager who might have been in trouble. We would also look at adopting a gay child, thrown out of their home because of their sexuality.”
We send our love and warmest wishes to John and Scott on their happy news and hope they have a long and happy married life together.
It’s not often a rap song carried a message of support for anything gay let alone marriage equality, therefore it came as quite a surprise to many to hear a rap tune supporting gay marriage had sneaked into the US top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
Rap duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released the song Same Love, quite some time ago, February I believe and as the momentum for equal marriage across the US has increased so have sales for the enchanting tune. Last week it sold the most it ever had since it was released, an amazing 110,000 copies, pushing it into the charts.
The song comes from the duo‘s latest album and focuses on Macklemore’s personal experiences, thoughts and feelings around the issue of same-sex relationships and equal marriage. The accompanying video also features the lives of a gay couple, including a happy marriage and can be seen on YouTube.
The lyrics were inspired by Referendum 74, where voters in the US state of Washington voted to uphold a law legalising equal marriage.
Many believe the song, which also features vocalist Mary Lambert, gained an added impetuous recently because of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of same-sex marriage, in two cases recently. It jumped from 28 to 16 in the Hot 100, as well as surging from 23 to 8 on the US Digital chart.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis rose to fame in the UK last year with the song Thrift Shop, which topped the UK chart and the follow up Can’t Hold Us, is currently in the top 20 in the UK, having been on the chart for around 16 weeks.
Same Love is surprisingly evocative and packed with energy, passion and meaning. A worthy addition to any music collection.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender humanists are calling on British Members of Parliament to support an amendment to the Marriage Bill currently being discussed in the British House of Commons, that would give legal recognition to humanist marriages in England and Wales.
Straight humanist marriages are already legal in Scotland and when equal marriage is introduced in Scotland, humanist marriages will also be made legal for same-sex couples.
Adam Knowles, Chair of Galha LGBT Humanists, said, ‘Humanists have always been in the vanguard of LGBT rights and humanist celebrants in England and Wales have been conducting same sex weddings for many years. We’re really pleased that LGB religious people will soon have the choice of a legal marriage reflecting their deepest beliefs and we think that we should have the same choice and the same right. LGB non-religious people in Scotland are to be given that right by their Parliament; we are looking forward to our Parliament doing the same for us in England and Wales.’
The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain is considering additional legal safeguards for its proposed equal marriage legislation in order to protect faith groups from the threat of legal action, if the legislation goes ahead, according to the Culture Secretary Maria Miller, reports Jason Shaw
During an interview with serious British newspaper the Telegraph, Mrs Miller said: “I would not introduce a Bill that would in any way impinge on a church’s power to decide who it marries. Faith groups should have the ability to control that. There are already clear protections within European law. Marriage is all about creating some stability in society.” she told the paper.
The possible introduction of protections for religious bodies in the bill comes after months of warnings from back bench MP‘s that European law increases the risk of faith organisations facing potential legal action if they refuse to provide gay couples with same-sex marriages.
Last week the French President Francois Hollande’s government approved a bill to legalise equal marriage and allow gay couples to adopt. The new reform was strongly opposed by many, including over 1,000 mayors and the entire French Catholic Church hierarchy.
France is one of a number of European nations that already have civil unions for same-sex couples, however gay marriage was one of Hollande’s campaign pledges during his bid to become President. On Wednesday he told his cabinet that the bill would mean “progress not only for individuals but for the whole of society” they approved the bill.
The Bishop of Durham Justin Welby has been named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. The Eaton and Cambridge University educated man is a former oil trader and has only been the Bishop of Durham for a year will take of from the current archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams towards the end of the year.
Only last month, Dr Williams, admitted the Church of England’s attitude to gay relationships had often been harmful to gay people he had also said that while his leadership was “wrong” not to have advocated gay equality, David Cameron was wrong to have embarrassed the church over the issue of equal marriage.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched another robust defence of the government’s policy on equal marriage.
Writing in the Independent, Mr Johnson expanded on some of the themes raised in his video and said:
“I have been asked to say something more in favour of gay marriage — and I do so gladly, because frankly I can’t see what the fuss is about.
“A couple of years ago someone asked whether I supported the idea and I was a bit flummoxed, because I thought it was already legal”.
“Marriage is an ancient human institution that is far older than any of the religions that are practised today.
“It may well be beloved by God, but no religion has ever had a monopoly on marriage”.
The French government have announced that October 31st is the date when a draft law authorising equal marriage will be approved by government ministers.
There had been widespread political and religious opposition, to the bill however Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault insisted there would be no backtracking on a manifesto promise by President Francois Hollande in an interview with local French news agency AFP.
More than 1,200 French mayors and deputy mayors have signed a petition opposing the government’s plans, with many of them warning they will not preside over same-sex ceremonies. Whilst that number may seem significant, it represents less than one percent of French mayors.
Last week, Francois Lebel, a district mayor in Paris who had previously married former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, said that he would not conduct marriages for same-sex couples and suggested the measure could open the door to the approval of polygamous or incestuous unions. Although quite how such a move would allow the ‘door to be opened’ is beyond all legal, moral and political understanding.
Prime Minister Ayrault said the draft legislation will include provision for married gay couples to adopt children but the right will not be immediately extended to unmarried gay couples.
Churches and other religious institutions should be free to stage gay weddings, Ed Miliband said when backing Government plans to legislate for same-sex marriages as a sign that Britain is a “modern country”.
However, he went further than ministers in calling for the right to hold same-sex marriages to be extended to faith groups as well.
In a video recorded for the Out4Marriage campaign, he said: “I think, whether you are gay or straight, you should be able to signify your commitment, your love with the term ‘marriage’, and so the Labour Party provides its wholehearted support for this campaign.
“We will be pushing the Government to get on with the process for legislating for equal marriage, and we’ll also be saying to them, where faith groups want to provide that opportunity for gay couples as well as straight couples, they should be able to do so.
“We’ve come a long way on gay and lesbian rights in the last two decades – civil partnerships, age of consent, a range of other things – but I know there’s further to go.
“I know that equal marriage is a very, very important part of ensuring equality before the law, the equality in our culture which is so important, and such a sign of us being a modern country and the kind of country I believe in.”