Huffington Post – Gay Voices – Saba Legalizes Gay Marriage, Popularity Of Caribbean Island Soars

Saba Legalizes Gay Marriage, Popularity Of Caribbean Island Soars
By DILMA ARENDS GEERMAN and DANICA COTO 12/14/12 01:51 PM ET EST

ORANJESTAD, Aruba — A speck of an island in the Dutch Caribbean has become increasingly popular with gay couples after legislators legalized same-sex marriages in a region still openly hostile to gays and lesbians.

Two men were recently married in Saba, marking the first ceremony of its kind in the region and setting off a frenzy of calls from gay couples in other Dutch Caribbean islands seeking to marry, said Julietta Woods with Saba’s Civil Registry office.”People keep calling me every second,” she said by telephone this week.

As part of the Netherlands Kingdom, the islands of Saba, Bonaire and St. Eustatius have to recognize same-sex marriages. While Bonaire and St. Eustatius have balked at the idea of legalizing such unions, the idea has been embraced in Saba, long considered a gay-friendly destination.

“We’ve seen it as a human rights issue,” said Saba council member Carl Buncamper, who is openly gay. “It is important to give the partners equal rights when it comes to inheritance and other benefits.”

Dozens of gay couples cheered Saba’s unprecedented step, noting that gays often face taunts, threats and even death elsewhere in the Caribbean, with many islands enforcing so-called buggery laws implemented in colonial times. Some islands also have tried to amend their constitution to establish that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

While Saba currently stands alone in approving same-sex marriages, Bonaire and St. Eustatius are expected to follow.

The Netherlands, which in 2001 became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriages, is giving those islands more time to adopt the same law amid local opposition. The Netherlands has said local governments should use the time to help communities get used to the idea of gay marriage.

The other Dutch Caribbean islands of St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba have to recognize same-sex marriages but don’t have to legalize them because they have a more autonomous relationship with the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the nearby French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe are expected to soon debate the issue as France prepares to vote early next year on whether to legalize same-sex marriages.

Gay Star News – Uganda’s Speaker fails to deliver ‘kill the gays’ Christmas present

Uganda’s Speaker fails to deliver ‘kill the gays’ Christmas present

Uganda’s ‘kill the gays’ bill won’t be passed by Christmas, country’s prime minister distances himself from proposals, Pope blesses parlaimentary Speaker who is pushing for the law
14 DECEMBER 2012 | BY MATTHEW JENKIN

Uganda’s promise of passing a ‘kill the gays’ bill as a Christmas present looks unlikely to happen now as parliament enters its last day before it breaks until the New Year.

The proposed law would give life in jail for gay sex and even the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

However, despite the Anti-Homosexuality Bill listed under a ‘notice of business to follow’ on the Uganda parliamentary schedule for the last two weeks, it has steadily slipped further down the agenda.

The bill now languishes in seventh place on the list of topics to be discussed once the main work of the day has been completed – meaning there is little or no realistic chance of a debate taking place.

Parliament is due to close today and it is unlikely the bill will be raised again until politicians return in January 2013, despite Speaker Rebecca Kadaga promising the law as a ‘Christmas present’ to her homophobic supporters.

There are also signs that the government is trying to distance itself from the proposed legislation after Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi suggested Uganda was not not ready to proceed with the bill because the penal code already provides penalties for homosexuality.

Speaking to Uganda’s WBS TV, he said: ‘We know that in our own penal code, we carried this from the British. We amended this law.

‘That particular provision was amended. So it is unlawful already. So to the extent that it is unlawful, and the attempt in this bill to repeat what is already unlawful, is not something we’ll support, supporting what is already in the bill. Why? Why won’t we support it? Because it’s already covered.’

However, he did hint at the possibility of passing a law banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, similar to those passed in Russia.

If the bill is eventually passed, men or women who have gay sex could be imprisoned for life – even if he or she merely ‘touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality’.

Those guilty of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ include HIV positive people who have gay sex or ‘serial offenders’. They will be executed.

The bill originated in 2009 but was shelved due to international pressure.

It was put back on the agenda by Kadaga who believes gay people pose a ‘serious threat’.

Meanwhile it has emerged that the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, blessed Kadaga during a mass attended by thousands of pilgrims at the Vatican yesterday (13 December) – despite her planning the judicial murder of gay people.

The homophobic Speaker called the encounter a ‘moment that cannot be repeated’.

She added: ‘We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St Peter’s Basilica but now we are here physically. I think it is something that I will remember all my life. Its a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity.’

Watch the Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi speaking about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill below:

RELATED TERMS: News Amama Mbabazi Amama Mbabazi Christmas Gay Gender Homophobia Homosexuality H

Los Angeles Times – Gay marriage in the balance as Supreme Court takes up Prop. 8

Gay marriage in the balance as Supreme Court takes up Prop. 8
December 7, 2012 | 3:53 pm

Gay rights activists said the stakes were high as the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide the issue of gay marriage.

The high court will decide on the legality of Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex unions approved by California voters in 2008.

“I think any time our gay issues go to the U.S. Supreme Court we are all filled with anxiety because you never know,” said West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran. “We have a lot of anxiety because we realize whatever decision they make, if it’s adverse, we have to live with it for a generation.”

MAP: How gay marriage has progressed in the U.S.

Gay marriage foes were decidedly more ebullient, saying they liked their chances in front of the high court.

“Arguing this case before the Supreme Court finally gives us a chance at a fair hearing, something that hasn’t been afforded to the people since we began this fight,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for Protect Marriage.com.

Others said they would be on edge until the high court rules.

Q&A: Prop. 8, gay marriage and the Supreme Court

“No one cries at civil unions or a domestic partnership. No one cries at signing a document at the courthouse. They cry at weddings,” said Dave Reynolds, 28, of Santa Monica, who married his husband in August in New York, where same-sex unions are legal.

Reynolds and his husband, JJ Shepherd, 31, first met as kids at summer camp. They would have preferred to get married in California, but they want to start a family with the legal protections a marriage license will grant them. The couple also wanted to tie the knot around the same age as their opposite-sex peers.

“We couldn’t wait for California to do it,” Reynolds said. His husband is an attorney, “so we know how long it was going to take.”
TIMELINE: Gay marriage since 2000

By agreeing to review Hollingsworth vs. Perry, the justices could hand activists a historic victory and legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. But gay rights advocates are also well aware that the court could rule against them and set the movement back at a time when same-sex marriage has seen a series of election victories at the state level.

“I think it’s the critical issue for gay and lesbian Americans today. It’s the issue that signals full equality and respect. Not just acceptance — respect,” said Tom Watson, the board chairman of Love Honor Cherish, a group that has advocated for a ballot initiative to repeal Proposition 8.

“The case goes directly to the scope of civil rights in this country, whether they’re extended to everybody or defined very narrowly,” Watson said.

Watson, a Los Angeles attorney, said he expected the justices to take the case, though it was tough to predict how the conservative-leaning court might rule. He noted that the court asked the parties to address whether supporters of Proposition 8 have standing, or the right to defend the measure. Normally, state officials would defend a state law being scrutinized by the Supreme Court, but California’s leaders have declined to do so.

If the court found that Proposition 8 supporters do not have standing, the justices would not have to rule on the merits of the case. Under those circumstances, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the measure is unconstitutional would stand and same-sex marriages could resume in California.
“It would be winning on a technicality,” Watson said.

Because of the uncertainty, Watson said his group would continue to consider pushing forward with a 2014 ballot measure to repeal Proposition 8. Either way, he said, California’s gay and lesbian couples are in for a frustrating wait.

“We have kids growing up with parents that don’t have the legal protections that marriage gives,” Watson said. “And, let’s face it, people die.”

Watson said someone had recently emailed his group asking whether his friends could get married. One member of the same-sex couple was in a hospice.

It pained Watson to send the answer: no.

Chi Chi LaRue, a 53-year-old West Hollywood resident, said he was “exhausted” by the ups and downs of the legal process.

On Friday, when reached by The Times for comment just as he was landing in Las Vegas, he said he was caught off guard: “I don’t have anything to say because I can’t process it.”

Think Progress LGBT

MEXICO SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY | Today, the Supreme Court of Mexico issued a unanimous ruling overturning a ban on same-sex marriage in the southern state of Oaxaca. The full decision has not been released yet, but advocates claim it “opens the door to equal marriage in the whole country.” The process is not immediate, as the Mexican Supreme Court does not have the same power to strike down laws like the U.S. Supreme Court does. Marriage equality was already legal in Mexico City, and the Court had previously ruled that marriages performed there must be recognized elsewhere in the country. Because the decision cited a ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, it could have an impact on surrounding countries via the international judicial system.