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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Rev. Tanya K. Young, Nags Head, North Carolina

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

Rev. Tanya K. Young

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Very often couples that seek my services are not comfortable with traditional church affiliation and desire a meaningful spiritual alternative. My goal, as the writer, is to create a ceremony that touches the hearts of you and your guests and speaks to your joined personality. I will blend all types of backgrounds into one formal moment and I am deeply honored to now legally join same-sex couples in North Carolina!

See Reverend Tanya’s Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in North Carolina

European Court Rules Transgender People Must Divorce for Gender Recognition in Many Countries

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Europe MapIn a terribly disappointing ruling, the European Court of Human Rights says countries that do not have marriage equality laws can force transgender people to divorce before recognizing their gender, or prevent them from marrying.

Gay Star News reports:

Married trans people living in countries without same-sex marriage must divorce if they want their true gender recognized, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. Heli Haemaelaeinen, a Finnish trans woman, lost her case yesterday (16 July). She was told she can only have her female gender recognized if she divorces her wife. The ECHR ruled there is no obligation on states without gay marriage laws to marry two people of the same gender if one of the partners is transgender. The couple, married in 1996 and have a 12-year-old child, wanted to stay together and be married.

Can you imagine being asked to make the choice between being identified as a man or a woman or being able to be married to your partner?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Wurope.

Could Italy Transgender Marriage Case Bring Civil Unions to the Country?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Italy - Google Maps

from Google Maps

A case in Italy of a transgender woman who stayed married to her wife after she transitioned is making waves in the country after a Constitutional Court decision.

The Daily Beast reports:

Now the Italian state is facing a perplexing dilemma. By allowing the Alessandra Bernarolis to stay married, it essentially has given the green light to civil unions. In its ruling last week, the high court said it was aiming to balance “the State’s interest in not changing the model of heterosexual marriage with the interest of the couple where one of the two components changes sex.” The court also asked Italian lawmakers to explore an “alternative” form of marriage to accommodate such same-sex couples.

Italy has been inching away from the Catholic Church’s insistence not to recognize same-sex unions for months. The mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, even went so far as to hang rainbow-colored Christmas lights across Rome to support LGBT rights this year, and he marched in last week’s Gay Pride parade, promising a civil union registry for gays who marry abroad in Rome soon, in direct defiance of the Vatican’s conservative views. Still, the country has a long way to go. The Italian parliament has not been able to pass an anti-discrimination law for gays and lesbians despite several attempts. Adoption is not granted to same-sex couples. “We need to put pressure on parliament so Italy can overcome the shame of lagging behind the rest of the European Union,” Marino told revelers at the parade.

It’s rare that the fight for transgender rights advances ahead of the fight for marriage equality. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if this case helped bring about both?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Italy.

Italian Court Rules in Favor of Transgender Marriage

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Italy Transgender WomanA transgender woman who had her marriage to another woman annulled after she transitioned has won her case.

Pink News reports:

A landmark ruling has been made in the case of a trans woman whose marriage was dissolved despite her and her wife wishing to stay together, to say that the annulment was unconstitutional, despite the country having no legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Alessandra Bernaroli, 43, maintained that her marriage of nine years was strong and she and her wife wished to remain married. Her local marriage registry dissolved the marriage because it would not acknowledge a same-sex marriage.

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday began hearing the case, and said it had aimed to balance “the State’s interest in not changing the model of heterosexual marriage…and the interest of the couple where one of the two components changes sex”. In its ruling, the court suggested that politicians should consider introducing “an alternative form” of marriage.

Will this ruling open the door to some kind of legal recognition of same sex couples in Italy?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Italy.

USA, Washington: All Domestic Partnerships to Become Weddings on June 30th

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Washington State Marriage Equality Repeal Effort6,500 couples who entered into domestic partnerships before the marriage equality law was passed in Washington state are about to get a letter from the state. reports:

Washington state plans to convert thousands of domestic partnerships to marriages on June 30, the Seattle Times reports: It’s the final piece of the state’s same-sex marriage law — a provision about which many couples are apparently unaware and one sure to trigger some uncomfortable conversations… Those being plunged into matrimony will no doubt include couples who simply hadn’t given it much thought. Or there will be those who broke up in the years since they registered as domestic partners, some of them now married — illegally — to other people. Some may be former Washington residents now living in other states — some in states where their partnerships aren’t recognized and where dissolution isn’t possible.

That should swell the ranks of married same sex couples a bit. Watch for legal fights for folks who got partnered in Washington state but live elsewhere, are now married there and can’t get divorced elsewhere.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington State.

UK: Couple Sues Government for Delay Converting Civil Partnership to Marriage

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Big BenA UK couple is not happy that they may have to wait an extra year before their civil partnership can become a marriage.

Gay Star News reports:

A British couple is to take legal action over the delay in being able to turn their civil partnership into a marriage. While the first gay couples will be able to marry on 29 March, those already in civil partnerships will have to wait until the end of the year. Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice have said they have waited long enough, giving formal notification to the government they will be taking legal action. They hope a judge will rule the government has failed to implement section nine of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) act, which allows conversions to take place.

Seriously, it does seem to be taking the UK government long enough to implement the new gay marriage law, let alone the extra time it is taking for converting existing civil partnerships. Does the UK just have an exceptionally hidebound bureaucracy? Or…?

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

We need same-sex marriage so we can get divorced

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

 An Opinion Article

By Melanie Nathan, December 26, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 5.28.38 AMWhile we tend to tout equality only in the light of love, there is another glaring truth that we barely speak of; same-gender couples need marriage so they can get divorced. That is when, as a civil law institution, having marriage is imperative. Of course we need certain laws, such as tax laws, hospital visits, pensions etc., during marriage and hence we can make the argument why coupling without the choice to marry is unfair.  However we hardly ever make the argument that we need marriage so we can get divorced; we need it to define how we break up. Most people when advocating for our marriage rights, lose sight of this critical argument as to why it is so important to have parity under the law.

For years our gay and lesbian community has suffered the impact of not having the same rights as heterosexuals, who can choose to marry, regardless of what State they live in.  For years we have heard the religious right brow beat us into thinking that marriage is all about a Biblical interpretation of what God wants for all humans.  Let us not forget what marriage really is.  The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally a social union in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged.   However as important is the fact that marriage is a binding legal contract between two people, that establishes uniform rights and obligations between two spouses, and between the spouses in relation to their children.

So while same-gender couples are denied the benefit of civil marriage laws in many places, the greatest difficulty of not being married, is experienced when one needs a divorce, when it comes to the break up.  Same-sex couples are thus denied the advantage of clarity under the law, where their rights and obligations enjoy clear definition, causing uncertainty and prejudice at the time of termination. So one of the most important reasons for getting married is so that we can have clarity and fairness when it comes time to divorce.Why

I have been privy to the enormous impact of the lack of law to govern broken gay and lesbian relationships, where for example couples have been together treating their relationship as if married, for many years.  More often than not these couples experience serious imbalance in the financial and parenting aspects of the relationships.   Especially where one partner has stayed at home as a homemaker, while the other has an enhanced career.  Some relationships carry on for years, as if marital, yet without applicable laws, and unless one enters into written partnership agreements, early on, proving the intention of the financial understanding in the relationship, can be very difficult at the time of termination.

How to help couples who do not have marriage laws to define their breakup:
These types  of breakups are best served by mediation, using an experienced neutral third party, who has an understanding of the issues of same-sex couples, deprived of legal clarity, through lack of equal laws. Obviously married couples are also well served by mediation, in most cases.

It is the mediator who can ensure one or more of the  (non-exhaustive) following, depending on the individual case:-

1. Helping parties understand the law that ought to have applied to a relationship, but did not;

2. Helping parties define and reach agreement as to their intentions toward each other during the relationship;

3. Helping parties honor their commitments to each other, regardless of lack of law;

4. Creating an environment of understanding where each party validates the position of the other, thereby dispelling the assumptions that cause conflict;

5. Helping parents place the best interests of the children at the fore:

6. Ensuring smooth transitions by creating plans that include financial support and interim custody/parenting plans, pending final settlement;

7. Ensuring the parties are equally empowered through external resources;

8. Keeping the process productive and preventing unnecessary legal expenses, through early management of conflict and the avoidance of litigation;

9. Allowing the partners to control the outcome by reaching a fair agreement that creates a win/win scenario rather than a win/lose scenario.


The Lay of the Land Post-Windsor and –Perry

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

With marriage equality now coming to Illinois and Hawaii, nearly 40% of the country lives in a marriage equality state. But just how federal and state governments will navigate the still-unsettled reality (and consequences) of marriage equality remains an open question.

Although Windsor invalidated Section 3 of DOMA, it left Section 2 in place, which allows states to refuse to recognize same gender marriages performed in other states. Marriages are not judgments or orders, and are therefore not entitled to equality under constitutional principles of full faith and credit among the states. This has the potential to impact benefits, parental rights, divorce, and other issues for same-sex couples depending on where they marry and where they live.

Read the full story on the MEUSA news blog…

Three Ways Marriage Is a Queer Choice

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Gay Wedding Cake“I don’t” is a strong statement, more so than “I’d rather not” or “I’ll pass for now.” It’s a position, not a preference. It’s also a provocative title for an article about same-sex marriage, like The New York Times’ Sunday piece “Gay Couples, Choosing To Say I Don’t.”

The article features LGBT folks who are wary of diving head-first into marriage just because they can, and who want you to be wary, too. Fair enough. We should all test the waters before making the choice to dive into anything. But this is where the article–and others like it–has a blind spot. It suggests that most same-sex couples are rushing into marriage with their eyes shut, or blinded by novelty, and overlooks the fact that, to many of us, the choice of marriage is a highly informed one.

Here are three ways that I find nuptials to be a liberating queer choice–for straight and gay couples alike.

It’s A Choice

Traditionally, marriage may have been predicated on one man dragging a woman by the hair and throwing her at the feet of another man. But it has evolved far from these roots, from women being property to women proposing.

Authored By Mark O’Connell – See the Full Story at Dot429

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Colombia: First Same-Sex Marriage Annulled

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Colombia google maps

from Google Maps

The battle over marriage equality in Columbia’s courts continued this week, as one judge overruled another.

On Top Magazine reports:

The September 20 union of Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbon and William Alberto Castro Franco was declared a marriage by a Bogota civil court judge. A second couple, Elizabeth Castillo and Claudia Zea, joined them last week. Local media reported on Wednesday that Judge Eduardo Diaz annulled the first marriage on Wednesday, saying that there is no constitutional right for gay people to marry. The Husband and Wife Foundation, an anti-gay group run by Javier Suarez, moved to have the marriage canceled.

Marriage equality rights are unclear in Columbia at the moment because the legislature has refused to respond to a court order that it provide rights to same-sex couples. So for now, it’s unclear whether couples should be allowed to marry or enter into some form of civil partnership. The courts have so far refused to clarify the issue.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.