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.
Russia has won a vote in the United Nations today which promotes ‘traditional values’ above lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and women’s rights.
In the resolution references to sexual orientation and transgender protection are actually removed from what is included in human rights.
Activists have said it makes demands for the UN to vote to decriminalize gay sex worldwide even more urgent.
The anti-gay Russian resolution was passed in the UN Human Rights Council today (27 September). It was backed by 25 countries with 15 against and seven abstaining.
It was titled ‘promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind’.
It ‘recalls the important role of the family’, and calls for ‘a better understanding of traditional values of humankind’.
Read the full article on Gay Star News…
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.”
The US Democrat party look all set to finally embrace same-sex marriage as part of their party platform. Such a move would signify a large shift from the current policy but would be more in line with the beliefs and ideals of President Obama and is a major step forward in American politics.
Democratic Party officials have argued over the contentious issue for quite some time, however at a platform-drafting meeting held in Minneapolis last weekend, they approved the first step to amend their platform, placing the amendment on track for adoption. In two weeks time, the entire platform committee will put it to a vote. Then, if approved as many expect it to be, it will then go before convention delegates in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a final passage in early September.
According to insiders who were briefed on the vote in Minneapolis, there were no objections at all when the issue came up and party officials do not anticipate any major obstacles going forward.
The language used in the platform is crucial and over the last weekend it was clear, they reiterated the party’s disapproval of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriage.
The Democratic Party’s move comes more than two months after President Obama personally backed the rights of same-sex couples to get married. At the time he said his views on the issue were ‘evolving’ as he had previously not supported equal marriage laws. However he is still the only sitting President to publicly support marriage equality and whilst his vocal support carry no legal weight, they are a significant move forward to making a fairer society for all.
Breaking news from the the northern part of the UK, The Scottish cabinet is expected to discuss plans to legislate for same-sex marriage when it meets later. SNP ministers, who favour the move, are due to announce legislation later this week in the wake of a consultation which resulted in 80,000 responses.
The proposals, if passed would see Scotland be the first part of the UK to allow full same sex marriage, already the policy has provoked opposition from some anti-gay religious groups, including the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland.
Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships and the Holyrood government has insisted no part of the religious community would be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches, which is the same conditions and rules as the proposed bill for England and Wales.
Eight gay rights activists were arrested in St Petersburg yesterday (July 7), under a law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’.
Three people were arrested in a park and a further five were arrested at the Smolny complex as they attempted to hold gay pride rallies. The rallies were protesting a law, passed in March, that bans the promotion of gay and trans identities among minors.
The campaigners were originally granted permission to hold the event, but it was revoked by city officials at the last minute. The law punishes anyone promoting ‘homosexual propaganda’ with a fine of 5,000 roubles (£107). Nikolai Alekseev was the first person arrested for violating the law back in May and was fined 5,000 roubles, reports PinkPaper.
Barney Frank has become the first U.S. congressman to enter a same-sex marriage, after he wed his partner James Ready on Saturday July 7.The pair wed in a private ceremony at the Boston Marriot hotel in Newton, in front of 300 friends, relatives and colleagues.
The pair, who have been together since 2007, had the ceremony officiated by Governor Deval Patrick who joked that the newlyweds had vowed to “love each other through Democratic and Republican administrations alike, and even through appearances on Fox News”. Congressman James P. McGovern told the Boston Globe: “I’m thrilled for him, “Massachusetts has always led the way, but Barney has been out front on civil rights issues for a while.”
Mr Frank was one of the first openly gay politicians to be voted into national office, previously spending eight years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The 72-year-old announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election at the end of his current term, reports PinkPaper.
The Greater London Authority has confirmed today the Mayor of London, bully Boris Johnson will not attend the heavily scaled back WorldPride parade in the capital this Saturday, as sponsors confirm the event in its original form has become ‘unsalvageable’.
Mr Johnson’s office has contributed £100,000 to the stage event in Trafalgar Square this weekend, which will still go ahead, but the GLA confirmed to PinkNews in the UK this morning that the mayor will not attend personally, contrary to the indication he made at Stonewall’s hustings ahead of his re-election this year.
WorldPride has been reduced to a walking parade, starting at 11am instead of 1pm this Saturday. With just over a week until the event, it was announced that floats and vehicles would not be allowed to take part in the procession. As well as the earlier start time, the celebrations in Trafalgar Square will end at 6pm and no official Pride events will go ahead in the Soho area. A last-minute attempt with financial support from Gaydar and Smirnoff, owned by Diageo, to save abandoned elements of the day was made but has proved unsuccessful.