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Chile: House Passes Civil Unions Bill

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Chile FlagThe bill had previously been passed by the Senate on a 28-6 vote in a slightly different version.

The Washington Blade reports:

The Chilean House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. La Tercera, a Chilean newspaper, reported the measure passed by an 86-23 vote margin with two abstentions. “People of the same-sex will have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the right to be happy,” said gay Congressman Claudio Arriagada Macaya after the vote, according to La Tercera.

Rolando Jimenez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, also praised the vote. “We dedicate this day, this moment, to the gay and lesbian families that have suffered a historic burden of misunderstanding and prejudices,” he said in a statement. “Today it will be the state’s turn to strengthen them and protect them on equal terms.”

Some opponents cried foul, claiming God had sparked a forest fire last year in protest.

President Michelle Bachelet says she will sign the bill when it reaches her desk.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

USA, Louisiana: House Votes 66-27 to Keep Invalid Sodomy Law

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Louisiana mapA law that was invalidated by the US Supreme Court more than a decade ago will live on in Louisiana.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, sought to remove consensual sex between people of the same sex from Louisiana’s crimes against nature law. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a similar Texas law a decade ago in Lawrence v. Texas. Smith brought the bill after Baton Rouge-area police arrested gay men using the law but couldn’t charge them because the district attorney said the law was unenforceable. She said the bill would help police officers do their jobs more efficiently by getting rid of an unusable law. “The bill only removes unconstitutional language,” she said. But Smith couldn’t win the backing of the House, which voted 66-27 against her repeal proposal. The bill was opposed by religious and conservative organizations.

You really get the feeling that these anti-gay folks on the right will do everything they can to hold on to their bigotry until the day they die, no matter how ineffective it is.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Louisiana.

USA, Alabama: House Says Ban Gay Marriage in the US Constitution

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Alabama mapShowing they never do know when to quit, the Alabama House is pushing an idea that failed ten years ago – an anti gay marriage amendment to the US Constitution.

Towleroad.com reports:

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Richard Laird, I-Roanoke, quotes a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex unions, and calls marriage “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” The resolution also cites several court cases, including five from the 19th century. It goes on to say that the U.S. Supreme Court “officially severed its respect for marriage” last year, when it struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the recognition of same-sex spouses under federal laws.

Laird’s resolution calls for an Article V convention, which would require 34 states to ask Congress to call a convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the resolution, the convention would specifically propose an amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and bar legal recognition of any other form of marriage.

Side note from Towleroad – “Laird infuriated Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker, Patricia Todd, after blindsiding her with the resolution by not describing its contents until it was time for the vote to be taken, thus heading off her objection to it.”

Classy.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arkansas.

USA, Maryland: Transgender Rights Bill Gets Final Approval

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Transgender FlagA bill to protect the rights of the state’s transgender citizens won final approval after years of trying.

The Washington Blade reports:

The 82-57 vote on Senate Bill 212 – the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 – took place after lawmakers debated the measure that state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced in January for more than two hours. “What we are about to do today is important,” said state Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) as she referenced the exclusion of trans Marylanders in a 2001 anti-discrimination bill that only included sexual orientation. “This is an important group of people today who frankly we left out 11 years ago. They’re beat up. They’re ridiculed. They are suffering and they need to hold their head up high just like I do.”

It should never have taken this long, but it’s a great step forward for the state’s LGBT community. Or should that be TLGB today? 🙂

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Maryland.

USA, Kansas: Right to Discriminate Bill Advances, Full House Vote Today

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

KansasA bill that would enshrine in state law the right to discriminate against same sex couples advanced yesterday in the House.

CJ Online reports:

The legislation that was debated for about two hours in the GOP-led House was characterized by advocates as an essential shield from government sanctions for anyone refusing to violate sincerely held religious beliefs regarding same-sex marriage. The bill advanced to final action Wednesday on a vote of 72-42. Democrats and other critics framed the bill as a discriminatory strike against Kansans in anticipation federal courts might overturn state bans — including Kansas’ — on the definition of legal marriage of anyone other than a man and a woman. “The bill is narrowly tailored to a small number of folks,” said Rep. Charles Macheers, a Shawnee Republican championing House Bill 2453. “It’s on the right side of history.”

I mean, seriously, don’t these folks have anything more important to do? You gotta wonder when the top of an elected official’s to-do list is “ok discrimination against gays”.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Kansas.

USA, Wyoming: Marriage Equality Bill Introduced in House

Monday, February 10th, 2014

WyomingA democratic lawmaker from Laramie, where Matthew Shepard was killed, has introduced a bill to legalize marriage equality.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Democratic Rep. Cathy Connolly’s bill would rewrite the current definition of marriage as being a civil contract between a man and a woman. The bill would specify only that marriage is a civil contract between two people, without any mention of their sex. Connolly is a lesbian and has pushed gay rights legislation for years. The House last year defeated bills she supported that would have permitted same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships.

Wouldn’t it be something to see marriage equality come to the state that had been a symbol for homophobia?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wyoming.

USA, Indiana: House Approves Amended Marriage Equality Ban

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Indiana State House - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

Even though an amendment means that the bill will have to be voted on again in 2016, the Indiana House press ahead with the proposed ban on gay marriage.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The Indiana House has voted in favor of an altered proposal that would ban same-sex marriage in the state constitution, while leaving the door open for civil unions and employee benefits for same-sex couples. The House narrowly voted 57-40 Tuesday in favor of the measure. The proposed ban now heads to the Indiana Senate, where members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are set to take up the issue. “The future of marriage belongs in the hands of Hoosier voters; not judges, not the media, not activists, not lobbyists,” said Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, and the author of proposed ban.

Because a group of Democrats and Republicans were able to strip out language from the bill that would’ve also banned civil unions, the bill will likely have to be voted on again in 2016.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: Full House Vote On Marriage Equality Ban Planned for Monday

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

IndianaThe Indiana GOP is moving ahead with plans to hold a full House vote on the proposed gay marriage constitutional ban.

Towleroad reports:

A bill to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage in Indiana that passed out of a house committee on Wednesday night will get a full House consideration on Monday, WANE reports: After passing out of an Indiana House committee Wednesday night, the bill banning gay marriage will have its second read in the House the week of January 27 to 31. The third and final reading of the bill known as HJR-3 will follow that and should be followed by a vote.

If the House approves the bill, it would move on to the Senate, and then to a vote of the people this coming November.

Zach Ford at Think Progress says such a campaign would be very difficult for Indiana’s gay lesbian families.

Glenda Russell, a psychologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, studied various referenda on same-sex marriage over the past few decades and found that as a result of these campaigns, the gay community’s “lives and loves are objectified, dissected, and subjected to all manner of myths and lies,” dividing families and communities. This “culture war” atmosphere creates immense stress for LGBT people, their children, their family members and their allies — even if they are not actively engaged in the campaign. Those who do get involved face an extra psychological risk from the hostile climate.

I remember very clearly going through the same thing here in California. In some ways, I think it was even worse here, because we had marriage equality in 2008, and then had to endure the hate and lies and signs on lawns of our neighbors saying we were less than everyone else before it was snatched away. It was extremely painful, and I don’t wish that experience on anyone.

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.

Towleroad.com 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, Virginia: Two LGBT Bills Killed in Assembly

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

VirginiaTwo Virginia Assembly committees killed two Pro LGBT bills, including a marriage equality proposal.

Metro Weekly reports:

In the Senate, the Committee on General Laws and Technology took up SB248, introduced by Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-City of Richmond, Henrico, Hanover, Charles City counties), to prohibit discrimination in state employment. The bill was nearly identical to a similar measure that passed both the committee and the full Senate by a bipartisan 24-16 vote last year, and would essentially have made permanent an executive order prohibiting such discrimination that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) issued just hours after being sworn in on Jan. 11. But a contingent of seven right-wing Republicans on the committee took advantage of the Senate’s temporary makeup to defeat the bill. Normally, the Committee on General Laws, at full strength, has 15 members. But a vacancy on the committee due to the election of former Sen. Mark Herring as Attorney General left the committee with only 14 members, eight of them Republicans.

The House measure, HB939, introduced by Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax Co.), would have repealed a Virginia state statute banning same-sex marriage. Notably, it would not have repealed the Marshall-Newman Amendment to the Virginia Constitution that voters approved in 2006, but only the underlying law prohibiting marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships and other instruments that recognize same-sex relationships. HB939 was assigned to the House Committee on Courts of Justice, from which Chairman David Albo (R-Fairfax Co.) assigned it to the 10-member subcommittee on civil law. The measure failed on a 5-4 vote, despite support from Del. Greg Habeeb (R-Salem, Roanoke, Montgomery, Craig counties) and Del. Manoli Loupassi (R-City of Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield counties), who voted in favor of continuing the discussion by allowing the full committee to consider the bill.

And so, marriage equality in Virginia may come down to the court decision, just as it has in Utah and Oklahoma.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Virginia.