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Malta: President Signs Civil Unions Bill

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Malta - Google Maps

From Google Maps

The President of Malta has signed a bill into law which allows civil partnerships and adoption for same-sex couples.

On Monday this week, the Parliament of Malta voted to allow same-sex couples to enter civil unions and adopt children and amended its constitution to forbid discrimination against transgender people.

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca signed the civil unions bill into law yesterday, reports the Malta Independent.

See the Full Story at Pink News

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UK, Northern Ireland: Assembly Will Debate Marriage Equality

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

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from Google Maps

Northern Ireland is getting ready to at least discuss marriage equality.

Pink News reports:

The Northern Ireland Assembly will debate equal marriage on 29 April in a motion filed by several MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly)…. The motion states: “That this Assembly notes that other jurisdictions on these islands have moved forward with equal marriage rights for same-sex couples; believes that all couples, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should have the same legal entitlement to marry”.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that has not yet approved marriage equality, and even Ireland to the south has planned a referendum for next year. But the DUP has steadfastly blocked every attempt – will this time be any different?

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Ethiopia: Anti Gay Rally and Bill Dropped

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Ethiopia via Apple Maps

Apple Maps

Ethiopia will not get more gay-hatey. At least not right now.

O-blog-dee-o-blog-da reports:

The AP is reporting plans to hold a mass anti-gay rally in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, have been cancelled. The two religious groups planning the rally announced last week it would be held on April 26th… Today, Negash said the cancellation is the result of people inside the church asking the government to prevent the rally. Currently, same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison or 25 years if convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts in the country.

It’s nice to see at least one African country pausing before taking an anti-gay step.

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Malta: Civil Unions Bill is Passed

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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From Google Maps

The European island nation of Malta has finally passed its civil unions and adoptions bill for same sex couples.

Gay Star News reports:

With the opposition choosing to abstain from the vote, the Labour-led government passed the bill Monday evening. President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who said she had ‘no problems’ giving gay couples civil unions, is expected to sign the bill as early as tomorrow. Gay campaigners said they were ‘jubilant’ at the news, holding a celebration at the square outside the parliament building in Valletta.

The bill was controversial mainly for its adoption provision, which was strongly opposed by the opposition party and some religious figures. Congratulations to Malta’s same sex couples!

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Peru: Thousands March in Support of Civil Unions Bill

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Peru – Google Maps

From Google Maps

A large rally wound its way through the streets of Lima this weekend to support a proposed civil unions bill.

On Top Magazine reports:

Roughly 3,000 people on Saturday rallied in support of a proposed civil unions bill in Peru. Among those marching through the streets of Lima was the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Carlos Bruce. “This march is part of human diversity and our constitution allows this diversity to exist,” Bruce is quoted as saying by La Republica. “Now, what happens is that the law does not allow two people of the same sex to join with all the protection of the state.”

Another South American state considers relationship recognition for its LGBT citizens. It’s not marriage equality, but it’s a step.

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Malta: Final Vote on Civil Unions Bill Today

Monday, April 14th, 2014

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From Google Maps

Malta’s Parliament is expected to give final approval to the pending civil unions bill.

Towleroad.com reports:

Malta’s parliament is expected to pass civil union legislation today, Europe Online reports: Efforts to pass the legislation, which has stirred a controversy in recent weeks, see Malta’s Labour government delivering on a key electoral pledge. The opposition Nationalist Party is expected to abstain from the vote, primarily because the legislation gives gay couples the right to adopt.

The bill was delayed because the outgoing President said he would not sign it.

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Thailand: Marriage Equality Bill Stalled By Political Crisis

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

ThailandThailand’s proposed marriage equality bill is bogged down bu an unrelated political crisis in the country.

LGBT Weekly reports:

Thailand already was in the forefront of Asian countries with a bill in parliament for acknowledging marriage equality. However, the prolonged fluid situation of current Thai politics which saw parliament’s dissolution, a general election that was nullified and a caretaker government that has no authority to introduce new laws, did not see that bill proceed. Presently, Yingluck Shinawatra’s status as caretaker prime minister is at stake and her cabinet may be dissolved automatically if she is found by the Constitutional Court to have abused her authority. Such pressing political considerations have removed the equality rights bill from the forefront and relegated it to the back-burner, LGBT rights activists say.

Disappointing, but the fact that the delay isn’t related to the bill itself gives us hope.

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Malta: Civil Union Bill Updates

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Malta - Google Maps

From Google Maps

As the civil unions bill inches closer to passage in the island nation of Malta, a few updates.

First off, a Malta candidate for the European Parliament says he wishes the bill didn’t include a provision allowing gays to adopt.

The Malta Independent reports:

PN MEP candidate MEP hopeful thinks that the gay adoption issue has not been studied enough and as such feels that MPs should have more information in hand before approving this new concept. In an interview that will be published tomorrow in The Malta Independent, Mr Mallia says that Civil Unions and gay adoptions should not be in the same Bill of law and, as such, if he were an MP he would abstain from voting on the current version of the Bill.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church is distancing itself from evangelical pastor Gordon-John Manche, who collected 10K signatures to try to derail the bill.

Malta Today reports:

A Curia spokesperson insisted that the Church is not associated with the pastor or his fellowship. “Gordon-John Manche and the River of Love fellowship do not have any link with the Catholic Church or any of its members. Consequently, there is no need for the church to disassociate itself from recent comments because there is no association whatsoever,” a Curia spokesperson told Illum.

The bill is expected to pass soon, and the incoming President has indicated she will sign it.

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USA, Mississippi: Governor Bryant Signs “Right to Discriminate” Bill Into Law

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Mississippi Governor Phil BryantMississippi has a shiny new “right to discriminate” law that could allow businesses to turn away gay customers, single women, buddhists, pretty much anyone they don’t agree with.

The Advocate reports:

Mississippi Republican governor Phil Bryant today signed a bill into a law that will allow business and individuals to deny service to anyone in the interest of religious liberty, according to ThinkProgress. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 2681, the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, would allow businesses and individuals to deny services to anyone, if serving that person or organization would “substantially burden” the individual’s “religious exercise.” It also adds the words “In God We Trust” to the official state seal. It received overwhelming support in the GOP-controlled legislature.

Some arm-twisting was involved.

Towleroad.com reports:

The bill passed, and should any GOP representatives have been on the fence about the issue, Jimmy Porter, executive director of the lobbying arm of Mississippi’s Southern Baptist convention, the Christian Action Commission, was sure to set them straight, promising a “political calamity” should any of them vote against Jesus.

Said Porter in part, “The fact is that one’s position on this piece of legislation can be made public whether a vote is taken or not. The leadership of the House will take a lot of heat for its failure if that is the case but it will be undeserved. The Christian Action Commission will work diligently to ensure the blame will be laid at the feet of these 20 alleged Republicans [against the bill]. Approximately 60,000 Baptist households will read about it and know the truth. Add to that Pentecostal households, members of the Tea Party, followers of American Family Association, the Liberty Council and the Family Research Council, etc., and you begin to see the widespread interest in this bill.”

Where’s Matt Barber with his “long knives” when you need him?

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Chile: Transgender Bill a Top Priority

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Chile FlagThe Senate in Chile is moving ahead on a transgender rights bill.

The Washington Blade reports:

The Chilean Senate on Tuesday moved to make a bill that would allow transgender people to legally change their name and sex without sex reassignment surgery a top priority. The Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity said senators must release a draft of the measure within 15 days. It will then go before the lower house of the Chilean Congress if there are no objections.

The transgender rights movement seems to be following a similar trajectory as the marriage equality movement. It’s great to see our trans brothers and sisters gaining recognition, even though it can never happen quickly enough.

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