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New York Senate Blocks LGBT Bills

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

New York MapThe state Senate killed two LGBT bills by not allowing them to come up for a vote, although both were seen as likely to pass.

Pink News reports:

The New York Senate has blocked bills which banned ‘gay cure’ therapy for minors, and protected trans people from discrimination. The ban on therapy to ‘cure’ homosexuality in minors had already been passed by the Assembly earlier this month, but was blocked by the Senate alongside the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act. The Senate leadership ended the legislative session without allowing the bills to go to a vote, despite support from both Democrats and Republicans.

The traitorous democrats (or is that DINO’s) who gave control of the state Senate over to the GOP are the gift that just keeps giving.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New York.

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.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

USA, Virginia: Did Marriage Equality Just Come to Virginia?

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

VirginiaThe Virginia Senate, as expected, just killed a bill that would have let the legislature defend the gay marriage ban.

Pink News reports:

The bill, which passed in the House, would have allowed Virginia to appoint lawmakers to defend its gay marriage ban if the governor or attorney general refused to do so. Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring announced last month that the state would side with same-sex couples who are seeking to have the ban struck down, rather than defend it.

Pink News notes the ruling for marriage equality was held pending a possible appeal:

A US federal judge on Valentine’s Day overturned Virginia’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling by Judge Arenda Wright Allen did not immediately apply pending a possible appeal, but now that this bill has failed, it is unlikely that an appeal will take place.

So is that it? Can same sex couples marry shortly in the state? Maybe Virginia really is for lovers.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Virginia.

USA, Indiana: Public Vote on Marriage Equality Ban Put Off Until 2016

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

IndianaFrom a Marriage Equality USA press release:

Today, just before Valentine’s Day, a conservative Indiana legislature gave some love to same-sex couples and their families by voting to keep an extreme anti-gay constitutional amendment off the state ballot this November. Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) and the coalition it chairs, the National Equality Action Team (NEAT), are proud of the thousands of phone calls we made as part of this successful campaign.

Today’s vote deferring the amendment from final consideration by the legislature until 2016 is the result of a successful grassroots coalition effort, thousands of individual conversations, and thoughtful deliberation on the part of Indiana legislators. NEAT volunteers from everywhere participated in phone banks that enabled Hoosiers from across Indiana to wage this successful campaign. During the campaign NEAT volunteers had almost 2,000 conversations with Indiana voters in key districts, resulting in those voters making nearly 600 calls to their representatives to oppose the amendment. Almost every legislator these Indiana residents contacted voted to postpone the amendment, or abstained.

“I am proud of what our NEAT volunteers and the Freedom Indiana coalition accomplished! Today, thousands of LGBT families in the Hoosier state do not have to face a discriminatory and divisive amendment, and the country’s undeniable momentum toward marriage equality continues. We join Freedom Indiana in celebrating this win!” stated MEUSA Program Manager Tracy Hollister.

“It feels so good to have contributed to yet another win in our country’s state-by-state efforts to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, and to protect them from harmful anti-marriage equality amendments,” said Carol Stern from NEAT partner organization Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation.

Work remains to be done as the Indiana legislature did approve an altered version of the amendment that still defines marriage as excluding LGBT families. Moving forward, MEUSA will continue to work with our partners in Indiana to fight to eliminate this language and bring the freedom to marry to all Hoosier families.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: Senate Likely to Delay Gay Marriage Ban Until 2016

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

titleIn a bit of breaking news, a lawmaker survey by the Indianapolis star shows that there is little support in the State Senate to resort the civil unions “second sentence” to the ban on marriage equality.

The Indy Star reports:

The Senate may be in the same position as the House was three weeks ago: Eliminate the hotly debated second sentence so the amendment will pass. An Indianapolis Star survey of the 50-member body this week found 16 said they will oppose adding back the second sentence and 10 — mostly Republicans — are undecided. Only six senators said they will vote to restore the sentence, which opponents think also would prohibit domestic partner benefits. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and 15 other senators declined to comment on the second sentence or how they will vote on the amendment — with or without the second sentence. Two senators are ill and were not surveyed. They are not expected to vote.

If they do not restore the civil unions ban, the law would need another legislative vote in 2016 before getting on the ballot. And the marriage equality landscape may look much different in the US by then, especially if the US Supreme Court weighs in again in the meantime. Just look at how much support for the ban has slipped in the last two years?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

USA, Indiana: Senate Committee Advances Marriage Equality Ban

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Indiana State House - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

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: Governor Wants Civil Unions Ban Restored in Senate

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Indiana Governor Mike PenceGovernor Mike Pence wants the Indiana Senate to restore the “second sentence” of the marriage equality ban so that it can go to voters this year.

Edge Boston reports:

Republican Gov. Mike Pence is asking Indiana lawmakers to send a proposed state constitutional ban on gay marriage to voters this year. House lawmakers removed a provision banning civil unions from the proposed amendment this week. That change threatens to push back a statewide referendum on the issue until 2016. Pence told WISH-TV (http://bit.ly/1elU2kE ) Friday that he wants to see the civil unions ban restored to the proposed amendment. Pence also said he is done talking about gay marriage until the General Assembly ends its 2014 session in mid-March.

Dot 429 says the ban will be heard in the Senate the week of 2/10:

Indiana’s marriage equality ban legislation is set to be heard by the Senate Rules Committee the week of February 10, according to Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long’s announcement on Thursday, January 30. The decision was contrary to Long’s previous position, in which he argued that the bill should be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee; according to the Journal Gazette, he stated that he considered the Rules Committee to be a better representation of chamber leadership and therefore the best choice for the legislation.

If the Senate does restore the civil unions ban, will the house go along and vote for the bill? Or will it stick to its guns and thereby delay its potential passage until 2016?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

Chile: Senate Advances Transgender Rights Bill

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Chile FlagA bill to add rights for Chile’s transgender citizens passed through the Senate on a 29-0 vote.

The Washington Blade reports:

A bill that would allow transgender Chileans to legally change their name and sex without sex reassignment surgery advanced in the country’s Senate on Tuesday. Lawmakers in the South American nation by a 29-0 vote margin approved the measure that would also allow trans Chileans to legally change their name and sex without hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations. Three lawmakers abstained. “Our lawmakers have recognized our dignity,” Andres Ignacio Duarte Rivera, founder of the Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity, a Chilean trans advocacy group, told the Washington Blade after the vote.

It’s great to see transgender rights advancing in a number of places around the world.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

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.