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Arkansas Governor Signs Updated Bill

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

ArkansasWe also have some updates out of Arkansas, after the Governor there unexpectedly declined to sign that state’s right to discriminate bill, asking for changes.

Former AG Opposes Bill: Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wrote an op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette condemning the “religious freedom” bill passed this week by the legislature but that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has refused to sign. full story

Rights Initiative Can Collect Signatures: Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge approved a proposed referendum to add sexual orientation to a list of categories protected from discrimination full story

Governor Signs Amended Bill: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a religious freedom measure into law on Thursday after state lawmakers overhauled their proposal so that it mirrors the federal law. full story

Governor Considers Anti Discrimination Order: Hutchinson said he’s considering signing an executive order that bars discrimination among the state’s workforce. full story

ACLU Praises Governor: The ACLU issued a statement praising the Governor’s actions. full story

HRC Calls for LGBT Protections: “The fact remains that the only way to ensure LGBT Arkansans are treated equally under state law is to add explicit protections for them. Moving forward, Arkansas should explicitly clarify that the RFRA cannot be used to undermine non-discrimination protections at any level.” full story

State Supremes Create New Marriage Equality Case: In related news, the state Supreme Court created a new marriage equality case to determine if a justice sworn in in January should help decide whether gay marriage is legal in Arkansas. full story

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

Click here for gay travel resources.

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?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Mississippi.

Uganda: Things Go From Bad to Worse

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Uganda - Google Maps

from Google Maps

After President Museveni signed the anti gay bill yesterday, things have gotten rapidly worse for the country’s LGBT community.

Museveni, in addition to signing the bill, had some seriously f*cked up things to say about gays.

Pink News reports:

He said: “I have failed to understand that you can fail to be attracted to all these beautiful women and be attracted to a man.”

“That is a really serious matter. There is something really wrong with you,” he said. “Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money,” he said, asserting that he had taken the time to get scientific advice before signing off on the law.

No study has shown you can be homosexual by nature. That man can choose to love a man… is a matter of choice. After listening to the scientists, I got the facts. Can somebody be homosexual simply by nature? The answer is no.”

Describing oral sex as a “culture”, and the mouth as an “address”, he went on to say that it was “engineered for kissing”, and that the mouth was not meant for oral sex. He said: “One of the cultures that we detest is oral sex. The mouth is for picking food, not for sex. We know the address for sex. That address is not for sex,” he said. “The mouth is for eating not for sex. The mouth is engineered for kissing. It is not healthy. You can contract STDs. You push the mouth there, you can come back with worms and they enter your stomach because that is a wrong address. You can also contract Hepatitis B.”

Blaming the West for the presence of gay people in Uganda, he said “arrogant and careless Western groups” had been “coming in our schools and recruiting homosexuals into homosexuality and lesbianism“.

How do you respond to this level of ignorance, bigotry and idiocy? I’m seriously at a loss for words.

The law’s repercussions are starting to spread across the country.

The Advocate reports:

At least one gay person has been killed in Uganda since the nation’s president signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law Monday, imposing lifetime prison sentences for certain LGBT people and criminalizing anyone who supports LGBT equality or “promotes homosexuality.” Ugandan LGBT activists report that a suspected gay couple was attacked after a local tabloid published the names of 200 LGBT people labeled by the tabloid as “Uganda’s Top Homos.” One of the people was killed in the attack, while other prominent LGBT activists have gone into hiding to avoid becoming victims themselves.

Meanwhile, the arrests have begin too.

SDGLN reports:

Onziema, the gay activist, told AP that he had counted up to six arrests and said that more than a dozen Ugandan homosexuals had fled the country since December over safety concerns. Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer who runs a rights watchdog group called Chapter Four, predicted Tuesday that the new law would make life worse for Ugandan gays. “The enactment of the anti-homosexuality bill has only emboldened the … population in their rejection of anybody perceived to be gay or even friendly to gays,” he told AP. “These things are going to continue. They are going to get more frequent.”

The UN Chief is demanding that Uganda repeal the law.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday demanded that Uganda revise or repeal the law imposing prison sentences for the “crime” of homosexuality, adding to the growing international criticism of the measure signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban cautioned that the law could fuel prejudice and encourage harassment against LGBT people, but offered UN support “for constructive dialogue.”

Norway is reducing its aid to Uganda.

Dot429 reports:

Norway has become the first country to impose consequences on Uganda for the enacting of its extremely harsh Anti-Homosexual Bill; on the grounds that the country is violating fundamental human rights, the government of Norway has announced it will withhold aid to Uganda until further notice. Since 1986, when its current president Yoweri Museveni came to power, Uganda has been the recipient of about 400 million kroner (about $73,694,800 USD) from Norway annually; according to Norwegian news site The Local, rather than cut aid entirely, Norway will lessen the aid by 50 million kroner (about $9,211,850).

The Netherlands and Denmark are making similar moves. Towleroad.com reports:

Three countries have made moves restricting AID to Uganda after President Museveni’s signing of the anti-gay bill, Al Jazeera reports: The Netherlands froze a $9.6m subsidy to Uganda’s legal system, arguing that “if the judiciary is to enforce such laws, we do not wish to assist that process”. Denmark and Norway said they would redirect around $8.5m each in government aid towards private sector initiatives, aid agencies and rights organisations.

South Africa’s ruling party, on the other hand, blocked a move to condemn Uganda.

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

Mamba Online, a South African Blog reports as follows: The DA says that the ANC blocked its motion in Parliament on Tuesday to condemn the Anti-Homosexuality Bill signed into law by Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni on Monday. According to Sandy Kalyan, DA Deputy Chief Whip, ANC MPs heckled her when she raised the issue in the House, “illustrating their brazen insensitivity if not support for this shocking measure.” She said that the ANC in Parliament did not seek to propose any amendments to the motion but rejected it “in its entirety.”

Queerty notes that a simple Google search would have answered President Museveni’s questions about homosexuality, had be been serious.

According to Museveni, Ugandan scientists have told him that a person’s sexual orientation is a choice that can be affected by environment. No word on exactly who those scientists are, whether the actually believe that to be true, or if they even exist. If we had to guess, we would guess that it’s a case of experts just saying what they think powerful elected officials want to hear, whether it’s true or not. We wanted to give Museveni the benefit of the doubt. But clearly, he was not interested in what scientists really think. If he’d bothered to do a simple Google search, this is what he would have found.

Hit the link above to see the results.

It’s a terrible, terrible thing Uganda is doing to its LGBT community, and what’s just as sad is that they were encouraged, aided and abetted by US evangelicals intent on spreading their anti-gay views around the world.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Uganda: Witch Hunt for Gays Begins

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

uganda-tabloid

After he signed the draconian anti-gay bill, President Museveni called gays “disgusting and “abnormal”.

GayWebSource reports:

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Zain Verjee, Ugandan President Museveni stated that he found homosexuality ‘disgusting’ and ‘abnormal’. Museveni told Verjee that his message to human rights groups and US President Obama was that they should ‘respect African societies and their values, just the way we don’t interfere with yours. If you don’t agree you just keep quiet. Let us manage our society if we are wrong we will find out by ourselves, just the way we don’t interfere with yours.’ When asked if he personally disliked homosexuals, he commented that ’they are disgusting. What sort of people are they?’ He added: ‘I never knew what they were doing I was told recently. It’s terrible, disgusting but I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that that’s he’s been born abnormal but now the proof is not there.’

A Uganda tabloid immediately publish a list of “Uganda’s Top 200 Homos”.

Towleroad.com reports:

Emboldened by President Museveni’s signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Uganda’s Red Pepper tabloid on Tuesday published a list of ‘Uganda’s 200 Top Homos’. It is not the first time the tabloid has done it. Back in October 2010, another tabloid published a similar list and called for death to those listed, inspiring documented attacks on many of those named in the article. It sent many others into hiding. The consequences for those named in the current list could be far worse given the provisions of the draconian bill Museveni signed this week into law.

The UK Government is cutting off aid to the country’s government.

Pink News reports:

The Department for International Development confirmed to PinkNews that the only aid money spent by Britain in Uganda goes to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organisations, rather than the Ugandan Government. This means the aid money is spent on helping the people of Uganda without funding the country’s legal and political system.

Three other countries have also cut off aid.

Pink News reports:

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have become the first three countries to cut their aid to Uganda following the decision to sign the bill by Museveni. The Netherlands has stopped around £6 million in aid money which was intended for Uganda’s legal system, as the country did not want to contribute to the persecution of gay people. Norway and Denmark have also said they will redirect aid directly to human rights groups, rather than the government. This is the same policy which the British Department for International Development, which provides aid directly to organisations such as the UN, World Bank and Amnesty International.

Sweden’s Finance Minister met with LGBT activists in Uganda.

Edge Boston reports:

Sweden’s finance minister has visited a group of gay activists in Uganda, lending his support to their plight after the country’s president signed an anti-gay bill that punishes gay sex with up to life in prison. Anders Borg, who is in Uganda to discuss economic growth in east Africa, told Radio Sweden on Tuesday he met with the activists immediately upon arriving in the country.

The Obama Administration will review the US relationship with Uganda in the wake of the anti gay bill being signed.

The Washington Blade reports:

The Obama administration on Monday said it is reviewing its relationship with Uganda after the country’s president signed a bill into law that would impose a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts. “The United States will undertake a review of its relationship with Uganda,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing. “I don’t have any outcomes to predict to you because we’re undertaking a review now.”

In DC, LGBT activists served the Ugandan embassy with an “eviction notice.”

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

Today in Washington D.C. and Springfield, MA – and many other locales worldwide we hope! – activists reacted to this morning’s signing of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, better known as Kill The Gays, by President Museveni with action. An eviction notice was served in D.C. suggesting useful re-purposing of Ambassador Wonekha and her Embassy staff as follows: “To go home to Uganda and work tirelessly for human rights for all Ugandans, including the kuchu community, to mitigate any violence and persecution resulting from this new unjust law, and to work for the law’s repeal.”

And US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke out forcefully against the new laew.

Joe.My.God reports:

This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law. The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. For the four years since the bill was introduced, we have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution. Today’s signing threatens a dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda.

It’s a dark day for LGBT rights, but especially so for Uganda’s LGBT community. We must all stand in solidarity with them. No more aid to the Ugandan Government.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Montana, USA: Gov. Signs Bill To Repeal Sodomy Law

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Montana Gov. Steve BullockIt’s official! Montana has repealed its sodomy law, officially legalizing gay sex in the state. LGBTQ Nation reports:

An obsolete law deeming gay sex as deviant — akin to bestiality — was stricken from Montana code Thursday, prompting gay rights activists to say they hope that full legal equality may be close at hand. When Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 107 decriminalizing gay sex, cheers erupted in the Capitol’s Rotunda. It had been 16 years after the state Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional and 24 years after gay rights activists began their fight to take government out of the bedroom.

Texas, are you next? How about Maryland? Or any of the other 15 states who still have these laws on their books?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Montana.

Washington, USA: It’s Official – Governor Signs Marriage Equality Law

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Washington, USA: It's Official - Governor Signs Marriage Equality LawGov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington state, which now joins several other states that allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the election on Wednesday afternoon, as they were joined by couples who plan to wed and community activists who worked on the campaign supporting gay marriage. The law doesn’t take effect until Thursday, when gay and lesbian couples can start picking up their wedding certificates and licenses at county auditors’ offices. King County, the state’s largest and home to Seattle, and Thurston County, home to the state capital of Olympia, will open the earliest, at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, to start issuing marriage licenses.

Because the state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest that weddings can take place is Sunday. Same-sex couples who previously were married in another state that allows gay marriage, like Massachusetts, will not have to get remarried in Washington state. Their marriages will be valid here as soon as the law takes effect.

Authored By Rachel La Corte – See the Full Story at the Seattle PI

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington State.

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Chile: President Signs New Hate Crimes Bill

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Chilean President Signs New Hate Crimes BillChile’s president Sebastian Pinera signed anti-discrimination legislation into law today. The move comes after the Neo-Nazi killing of a gay man, Daniel Zamudio, in March.

Mr Zamudio’s killing shocked Chile and sparked a national debate on hate crime. He suffered severe head injuries and his body was found in a city park with cigarette burns and swastikas carved in his skin.

The hate crime bill had languished in Congress for over seven years, but was finally fast-tracked to approval after the attack. It cleared its final hurdle with a 25-3 vote in the Senate.

See the Full Story at Pink News

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

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DE: Civil Unions Law Signed, Effective January 2012

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Delaware Civil UnionsThe bill is now law, and on 1 January 2012, Delaware’s lesbians and gays will have official civil unions. Tonight, Governor Jack Markell signed the bill into law. He signed the bill at a jam packed cheering house at The Queen in Wilmington. About six hundred people gathered for the reception organized by Equality Delaware. Markell stated:

“Tonight, with the signing of this law, we say to any Delawarean regardless of sexual orientation – if you’ve committed yourself to someone, and you’ve made that pledge to spend your life together in partnership, when life or death decisions come, we honor your right to make those decisions together.

“Tonight, we say to loving and committed couples across the state who want the law to endorse the promise that they made long ago in their hearts – ‘Your love is equally valid and deserving, your family is now equal under the law.”

Full Story from Lez Get Real

Click here for gay marriage resources in Delaware.

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Ireland: President Signs Civil Unions Bill, To Take Effect January 2011?

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The Civil Partnership Bill, which provides legal recognition for same-sex couples in Ireland for the first time, has today been signed into law. The Bill was signed into law by President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin this morning.

It extends marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples in the areas of property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax. The act also offers additional rights and protections for other cohabiting couples including a redress scheme for financially dependent long-term cohabitants on the end of a relationship.

Announcing the signing of the Bill today, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern described it as “one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation to be enacted since independence.”

Full Story from the Irish Times

Click here for gay marriage resources.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook – just search for Gay Marriage Watch (you’ll see our b/w wedding pic overlooking the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge in SF). We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.