QUEERTY – France Becomes 14th Nation to Legalize Gay Marriage

France Becomes 14th Nation to Legalize Gay Marriage

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Break out the baguettes, kids, we’ve got another country on board! Today, France became the ninth county in Europe and the 14th nation overall to

legalize same-sex marriage.
The bill passed the lower house of the National Assembly where the ruling Socialist Party and its allies voted 331-225 to give same-sex couples the legal right to marry and adopt children.
The bill

 

 

now has to be signed by President Francois Hollande, who gave his formal approval last November.
France’s justice minister, Christiane Taubira, said the first gay weddings could take place as early as June.
The vote follows months of division in the country, marked by violence and protests. Ahead of the vote, thousands of police mobilized in preparation for dueling protests around the National Assembly while on Twitter the hashtag, “homosexuals must be killed” became

popular.
France is the third country just this month to legalize gay marriage after Uruguay and New Zealand. Next stop: merry olde England!
BY: LESTER BRATHWAITE
ON: APR 23, 2013


 

 

ABC News -Cheers and Maori Song as NZealand OKs Gay Marriage

 

Cheers and Maori Song as NZealand OKs Gay Marriage

By NICK PERRY Associated Press
WELLINGTON, New Zealand April 17, 2013 (AP)
The halls of Parliament echoed with a traditional Maori love song after lawmakers made New Zealand the 13th country in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.

Supporters of the bill, including hundreds of gay-rights advocates, stood and cheered after the 77-44 vote was announced late Wednesday. Then as lawmakers tried to get back to business, someone started signing “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language, and soon nearly the whole room joined in.

“They are agitated, the waters of Waiapu,” the song begins. “But when you cross over girl, they will be calm.”

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Before the vote, bill sponsor Louisa Wall told lawmakers the change was “our road toward healing.”

“In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal — it’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person,” she said. She added that “nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill.”

Fellow Member of Parliament Maurice Williamson mocked a reverend’s claim that the bill would set off a “gay onslaught.”

“We are struggling to know what the gay onslaught will look like,” Williamson told his colleagues. “We don’t know if it will come down the Pakuranga Highway as a series of troops, or whether it will be a gas that flows in over the electorate that blocks us all in.”

“The sun will still rise tomorrow,” Williamson assured the bill’s opponents. And he suggested that religious objections might even be off-base: “We had the most enormous big gay rainbow across my electorate. It has to be a sign, sir!”

Most political party leaders had encouraged lawmakers to vote by their conscience rather than along party lines. Although Wall is from the opposition Labour Party, the bill also was supported by center-right Prime Minister John Key.

“In my view, marriage is a very personal thing between two individuals,” Key said. “And, in the end, this is part of equality in modern-day New Zealand.”

Since 2005, New Zealand has allowed civil unions, which confer many legal rights to gay couples. The new law will allow gay couples to jointly adopt children for the first time and will also allow their marriages to be recognized in other countries. The law will take effect in late August.

“For us, we can now feel equal to everyone else,” said bank teller Tania Penafiel Bermudez, who said she already considers herself married to partner Sonja Fry but now can get a certificate to prove it. “This means we can feel safe and fair and right in calling each other wife and wife.”

“This is really, really huge,” said Jills Angus Burney, a lawyer who drove about 90 minutes to Parliament to watch the vote with her partner, Deborah Hambly, who had flown in from farther afield. “It’s really important to me. It’s just unbelievable.”

Burney, a Presbyterian, said she and Hambly want to celebrate with a big, traditional wedding as soon as possible.

The change in New Zealand could put pressure on its neighbor. In Australia, there has been little political momentum for a change at a federal level and Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage. Some Australian states, however, are considering gay-marriage legislation.

Rodney Croome, the national director for the lobbying group Australian Marriage Equality, said that since Friday, 1,000 people had signed an online survey saying they would travel to New Zealand to wed, though same-sex marriages would not be recognized under current Australian law.

“There’s this really big, pent-up demand for this in Australia,” Croome said. “New Zealand is just a three-hour plane ride away, and many couples are going to go to New Zealand to marry. They are just so sick and tired of waiting for the government to act. I think it’s going to spark this big tourism boom.”

Many people in New Zealand remain vehemently opposed to gay marriage. The lobbying group Family First last year presented a petition to Parliament signed by 50,000 people who opposed the bill. Another 25,000 people have since added their signatures to that petition.

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“Historically and culturally, marriage is about man and a woman, and it shouldn’t be touched,” said Family First founder Bob McCoskrie. “It doesn’t need to be.”

McCoskrie said same-sex marriage should have been put to a public referendum rather than a parliamentary vote. That might not have changed the outcome, however: Surveys indicate that about two-thirds of New Zealanders favor gay marriage.

The change was given impetus last May when U.S. President Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage. That prompted Prime Minister Key to break his silence on the issue by saying he was “not personally opposed” to the idea. Wall then put forward the bill, which she had previously drafted.

Same-sex marriage is recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign. Nine states and the District of Columbia in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.

In his speech before Wednesday’s vote, lawmaker Tau Henare extended a greeting to people of all sexual identities and concluded with a traditional greeting in his indigenous Maori.

“My message to you all is, ‘Welcome to the mainstream,'” Henare said. “Do well. Kia Ora.”

ABC News – Uruguay Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Gay Marriage

Uruguay Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Gay Marriage

 

By PABLO FERNANDEZ Associated Press
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay April 11, 2013 (AP)
Uruguayan lawmakers voted to legalize gay marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so.

Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the legislative building, erupted in celebration Wednesday when the results were announced. The bill received the backing of 71 of the 92 members of the Chamber of Deputies present.

“We are living a historic moment,” said Federico Grana, a leader of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that drafted the proposal. “In terms of the steps needed, we calculate that the first gay couples should be getting married 90 days after the promulgation of the law, or in the middle of July.”

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The “marriage equality project,” as it is called, was already approved by ample majorities in both legislative houses, but senators made some changes that required a final vote by the deputies. Among them: Gay and lesbian foreigners will now be allowed to come to Uruguay to marry, just as heterosexual couples can, said Michelle Suarez of the Black Sheep Collective.

President Jose Mujica, whose governing Broad Front majority backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days.

Nationalist Sen. Gerardo Amarilla opposed the law, saying it “debases the institution of marriage” and affects the family, especially in its “role in procreation.”

The vote makes Uruguay t

he third country in the Americas after Canada and Argentina to eliminate laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals. In all, 12 nations around the world now have taken this step.

While some countries have carved out new territory for gay and lesbian couples without affecting heterosexual marrieds, Uruguay is creating a single set of rules for all people, gay or straight. Instead of the words “husband and wife” in marriage contracts, it refers to the gender-neutral “contracting parties.”

All couples will get to decide which parent’s surname comes first when they have children. All couples can adopt, or undergo in-vitro fertilization procedures.

The legislation also updates divorce laws in Uruguay, which in 1912 gave women only the right to unilaterally renounce their wedding vows as a sort o

f equalizer to male power. Now either spouse will be able to unilaterally request a divorce and get one. The law also raises the age when people can legally marry from 12 years old for girls and 14 for boys to 16 for both genders.

Outside congress, gay couples holding hands, transvestites and transgender couples jumped in celebration when the result was announced. People in costumes carrying Uruguayan and rainbow flags danced to electronic music.

“I have all the rights and obligations of everyone else. I pay my taxes and fulfill my responsibilities, why would I be discriminated against?” said Roberto Acosta, a 62-year-old retired gay man.

Mujica, w

 

ho spent more than a decade in prison for his actions as a leftist guerrilla in the 1970s and still lives on a ramshackle flower farm in a poor neighborhood on the edge of Uruguay’s capital, has pushed for a series of liberal laws recently. Congress agreed to decriminalize abortion, but Mujica had to suspend an effort to put the government in charge of the marijuana business, saying society has to reach consensus on that idea first.

Uruguay’s Roman Catholic Church asked lawmakers to vote their conscience and challenged the label of “marriage equality” as a false pretext, saying it’s “not justice but an inconsistent assimilation that will only further weaken marriage.”