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USA, Indiana: Senate Committee Advances Marriage Equality Ban

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Indiana State House - Apple Maps

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The eight republican Senators on the Indiana Senate Rules Committee voted to send the amended ban on gay marriage to the full Senate for a vote later this week.

Think Progress reports:

On Monday, the Indiana Senate Rules Committee voted 8-4 along party lines to advance House Joint Resolution 3, which would add an amendment to Indiana’s constitution banning same-sex marriage. It now advances to the full Senate for consideration. The version of HJR-3 advanced Monday is the amended version passed by the House last month. This version stripped the second sentence of the amendment, which would also ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. Because it differs from the amendment passed in 2011, it could not go to the ballot if approved in this form.

Joe.My.God explains what could happen next:

If the full Senate does not re-insert the stricken passage, the issue cannot be put to a public vote any earlier than 2016. Indiana law requires that all constitutional amendments be approved by the legislature with the exact same wording in two consecutive sessions. The bill in its current form does not match the one approved by both chambers in the last session. If the Senate DOES re-insert the stricken passage, which also outlaws civil unions, the bill must return to the state House for another attempt to pass it with the wording approved by the last legislature.

The full Senate may consider the bill on Thursday. Ever wonder what a last gasp looks like?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: Senate to Take Up Marriage Equality Ban Today

Monday, February 10th, 2014

IndianaGay marriage opponents in Indiana continue to press on with their bill to ban gay marriage in the state constitution, despite widespread opposition.

On Top Magazine reports:

An Indiana Senate panel on Monday will consider a measure which seeks to put a gay marriage ban in the state’s constitution. Before approving House Joint Resolution 3 (HJR-3) last month, the House stripped out language which also banned civil unions and other similar arrangements. After the House vote, Senate President Pro Tem David Long announced that the measure would not be vetted in the Senate Judiciary Committee as he previously had said. Instead, the proposal will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee, which he chairs.

Marriage equality opponents will be working hard to restore the “second sentence”, the ban on civil unions that was stripped out in the house. Doing so would give them a shot at still sending this bill to a public vote in November, instead of waiting for a legislative re-vote on 2016.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: House Committee Advances Marriage Equality Ban

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

IndianaWell, it looks like House Speaker Brian Bosma got what he wanted when he moved the gay marriage ban to a new committee. reports:

The Indiana House Elections and Apportionment Committee advanced HJR-3, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a vote of 9-3 along party lines after more than four hours of debate. The bill will now move to the full House. The bill was moved to the Elections and Apportionment Committee by House Speaker Brian Bosma (pictured) in a power play after it began to look like it might fail in the House Judiciary Committee. Bosma’s unusual move turned out to be successful for the anti-gay conservatives.

It’s stunning how much effort goes into passing something like this, especially now, when there are so many other pressing needs in Indiana that the legislature seems to be ignoring.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: House Speaker Moves Marriage Equality Ban to Second Committee

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Indiana House Speaker Brian BosmaAfter running into problems pushing thru a gay marriage ban in one House committee, the House speaker has picked it up and dropped it into another, more receptive one.

The Indianapolis Star reports:

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma pledged to treat a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage like any other bill this year. But critics say that vow fell away on Tuesday when he yanked the measure out of a committee where it seemed doomed to fail and sent it to one where it’s all but certain to pass. The highly unusual move means the proposed constitutional amendment is almost certain to get a vote on the House floor. It also reveals just how quickly positions are shifting on the issue — especially among Republicans.

A few weeks ago, no one would have anticipated that the measure would have had any trouble getting out of the House Judiciary Committee, where Bosma initially assigned it. But last week, three GOP committee members surprised many observers — including, apparently, Bosma — with reservations about the amendment. That left Bosma with few options. He could let the measure die and risk angering conservatives who want an opportunity to vote on the issue. Or, he could use his powers as speaker to push the measure through at the risk of seeming desperate or heavy handed. He chose the latter.

Bigotry truly knows no bounds. What other tricks and sleight-of-hand will be needed to get this thing passed?

The Indiana Star’s Matthew Tully says the ban is just wrong:

The biggest problem is that it is wrong to judge our fellow citizens in a public vote, a vote that would allow some Hoosiers to tell others that they deserve less. Less respect. Less freedom. Less opportunity. This amendment is so disturbingly wrong, so morally offensive, so out of step with where our nation is, that it’s hard to believe its advocates continue to persist. The idea that our political leaders are calling for a public referendum to make clear in the constitution that some of our neighbors are second-class citizens — well, it’s stomach-turning.

And the Indy Star also reports on Arts Groups that are stepping up to oppose the ban.

On Jan. 20, the Indianapolis Museum of Art announced its opposition to HJR-3, a bill that would amend the state constitution to include a definition of marriages as being between a man and woman. The Indianapolis Consortium of Arts Administrators, a group comprised of 52 arts organizations in the city, is expected to discuss a document on the matter drafted by David Lawrence, Arts Council of Indianapolis president and CEO, during its monthly meeting Jan. 22. “Clearly we’re going to oppose HJR-3,” said Lawrence, who declined to discuss specific details of the document. The consortium includes a wide range of performing arts, educational, and historic preservation organizations large and small.

It’s great to see so many folks standing up for LGBT rights and marriage equality.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: Will The House Speaker Stack the Deck for Marriage Equality Ban?

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Indiana House Speaker Brian BosmaIt looks like Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma may not be above playing dirty to get committee passage for the gay marriage ban.

Think Progress reports:

According to a report from NWI Politics, the committee may not have the votes to pass the resolution, with at least three of the nine Republicans believed to be voting against it along with the committee’s four Democrats. Bosma has suggested he might use his power to remove members from the committee if they don’t support it: “I’ve said one person shouldn’t make the decision; we’ve got to figure out if a couple people ought to make the decision for all Hoosiers,” Bosma said. “The speaker, of course, has the power to move bills and has complete autonomy over committee membership.”

Stay tuned – the committee vote is expected some time next week. If it passes the House again this year, it goes to a vote of the people next year.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: More Ban Opposition; Gov Pence Wants Ban Passed; Church Objects to Firing

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

IndianaWe have three marriage equality-related stories out of Indiana this morning.

First off, two more Indiana cities are standing up against the proposed gay marriage ban.

Edge Boston reports:

The South Bend and Muncie councils both voted Monday night to adopt resolutions against the proposed constitutional amendment being considered by state legislators. The South Bend resolution was approved on a 6-2 vote, while the Muncie resolution was adopted in a 9-0 vote. South Bend Councilman Dave Varner, the council’s only Republican, said he voted against the resolution because he believed voters should be allowed to decide the issue in a statewide referendum. About 15 people spoke in favor of the resolution before the council voted, which didn’t sway Varner, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) is eager to get the controversy off his plate.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Republican Gov. Mike Pence says the debate over whether to amend Indiana’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage should be decided “once and for all” this year. Pence reiterated his support for traditional marriage during his State of the State address Tuesday and said voters should decide the matter in November. He urged “civility and respect” during the debate that already has brought hundreds of activists to the Statehouse.

“Let’s have a debate worthy of our people with civility and respect. Let’s protect the rights of Hoosier employers to hire who they want and provide them with benefits that they earn. And then let’s resolve this issue this year once and for all,” he said, to applause from the assembled lawmakers, a majority of whom are Republicans.

And finally, an Indiana church saw 80% of its flock leave after a gay choir director was fired.

On Top Magazine reports:

A United Methodist Church congregation in Alexandria, Indiana dwindled by 80 percent after the church forced out its gay choir director. Adam Fraley told The Herald Bulletin that he lost his job because of his sexual orientation. Fraley – who attended services with his partner but was not open about his sexuality while working at the church – held the position for six years. He resigned in the spring, saying that a new minister made him uncomfortable.

In September, David Mantor was appointed as new interim minister. David Steele, who represents the congregation, asked Mantor to bring back Fraley. Mantor initially agreed, but three weeks later he fired Fraley and the following day told Steele he could no longer serve. Steele refused to quit, but church leaders backed Mantor. Church law states that non-celibate gay people cannot be “appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”

Anyone hear when the Indiana House committee will actually take a vote on the proposed ban?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

UK, Scotland: Anti-Gay Amendments Rejected By Parliamentary Committee

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Scotland - Google Maps

from Google Maps

Several attempts to water down the pending marriage equality bill in Scotland were rejected by committee this week.

Pink News reports:

The committee was tasked with considering amendments to the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill before MSPs vote on a final version of the bill early next year. On Thursday, they rejected proposed amendments that allowed civil registrars and all other public sector workers to refuse to marry same-sex couples. An amendment which would introduce a clause stating that a potential adoptive parent or foster carer’s views on marriage cannot be taken into account during the fostering or adoption process was also rejected.

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “I do not consider it necessary to amend the law on fostering and adoption in relation to same-sex marriage. “It is already the case that views on same-sex marriage cannot disqualify anyone from becoming a foster carer or an adoptive parent.”

On the other hand, two pro-gay minutes were added:

Two amendments supported by the Equality Network, the Scottish LGBT equality charity, were agreed unanimously by the committee, including an amendment to allow couples with foreign civil partnerships to convert them to a marriage in Scotland, and one to allow religious and belief bodies to use gender-neutral language in marriage ceremonies if they wish.

Anyone know what the legislative track for this bill looks like, i.e. when it might actually be passed into law? It would be nice if it would coincide with the England/Wales version, which starts March 29th.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

UK, Scotland: Marriage Equality Bill Gets Committee Approval

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

ScotlandThe marriage equality bill in Scotland is finally starting to move ahead.

Pink News reports:

Legislation to introduce equal marriage in Scotland has been backed by a committee looking into the proposals. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill still needs to go through three stages of voting in the Scottish Parliament before it can become law. A crucial Stage One vote on the principle of the bill will take place in the week starting 18 November. If all goes according to plan, a Stage 3 vote is likely to happen in January or February. The report concludes four months of evidence taking and consideration by the Equal Opportunities Committee.

Supporters in Scotland are hoping to have the law come into force to coincide with the England/Wales law, which takes effect next summer. That leaves just Northern Ireland, which has been lagging far behind. Even Ireland is planning a referendum on the issue.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

USA, Hawaii: Legislature Should Have Votes to Pass Marriage Equality Bill

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

HawaiiHawaii lawmakers think they have enough support to pass the marriage equality bill through both houses of the legislature.

Gay Star News reports:

The bill is expected to easily pass the Senate by a margin of 21-4. It needs 26 votes to pass in the House. Hawaii News Now surveyed House members and reports that 27 of them plan to vote in favor of marriage equality while seven are still undecided. Representative Mark Takai is among those who say his position has changed in recent months. ‘I think it’s only fair to provide the same benefits and the opportunities that other states have provided and that the federal government is providing currently,’ Takai tells Hawaii News Now. ‘I think it’s time for the laws of the state of Hawaii to reflect the aloha spirit.’

In related news, Fred Karger is going after NOM and the Mormon church for possible campaign violations.

Joe.My.God reports:

“After assurances two years ago that the Mormon Church was officially out of the anti-gay marriage business that it has led since 1995, the powerful and secretive Mormon Church is now back fighting marriage equality,” said Karger. “They are once again being duplicitous and refusing to register all the paid Mormon Church employees who have been lobbying Hawaii state legislators in advance of this week’s Special Legislative Session. Governor Abercrombie has called the State Legislature back into session this week so that Hawaii can become the 15th state to allow the freedom to marry. NOM is running commercials throughout Hawaii and it did not register for its grassroots lobbying either.”

The bill passed out of the Senate committee yesterday after nearly 12 hours of testimony.

ABC News reports:

Some 1,800 people signed up to testify in person at a Senate committee hearing, which was carried live on TV and local news websites. Dozens of people gathered around three televisions in the Capitol rotunda, cheering testimony they agreed with and singing songs. Opponents of gay marriage solicited honks and shaka signs from passing motorists on the street, staging a large rally of hundreds of people timed with afternoon rush hour. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill nearly 12 hours after testimony began, sending the bill to a floor vote expected on Tuesday.

Now we wait for the full Senate vote today.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Hawaii.

Nevada, USA: Assembly Passes Repeal of Marriage Equality Ban

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Nevada mapThe legislature just completed the first part of a three part, multi-year process to repeal its constitutional ban on marriage equality. Think Progress reports:

Today the Nevada Assembly voted 27-14 to approve a constitutional amendment that would repeal the 2002 amendment banning same-sex marriage. Combined with the Senate approval from April, this completes the amendment’s first phase of approval. Both chambers must approve the measure a second time during 2015 legislative session, following which it will be advanced to the ballot in November, 2016.

Only one republican voted for the measure. LGBTQ Nation reports:

The final vote ran along party lines with Republicans opposing. Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, voted with the Democrats for her mother, whom she recently revealed is gay. For many Republicans who voted against the measure in both the Senate and Assembly, personal beliefs and faith were at the center of their opposition. “I believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God – that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, R-Mesquite, said. “My respect for others and their beliefs do not cause me to abandon my commitment to the truth which I understand.”

Voters enacted the ban in 2002. Now they will likely have a chance to undo it, 14 years later.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Nevada.