ADVOCATE.COM – Minnesota Senate Adds Its Blessing to Same-Sex Weddings

Minnesota Senate Adds Its Blessing to Same-Sex Weddings
In a vote of 37-30, the state Senate approved a marriage equality bill. The governor is expected to sign the legislation Tuesday.
BY SUNNIVIE BRYDUM MAY 13 2013 3:59 PM ET

Following several hours of often emotional testimony, the Minnesota state Senate voted in favor of marriage equality Monday. The final vote was 37-30.

Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the legislation on Tuesday, The Star Tribune reports. Gay and lesbian Minnesotans can begin getting married August 1.

A far-reaching amendment that would have allowed individuals and organizations to refuse goods, services, and accommodations to same-sex couples based on sincerely held religious beliefs was overwhelmingly defeated by a vote of 42-25.

Senators opposed to the bill evoked fearful rhetoric about the endangerment of religious freedom and the “unknown consequences” of “redefining marriage.”

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One senator, who introduced a failed amendment to make sure the words “mother” and “father” were universally codified i

n state statutes, hoped the chamber would step 16 years back, to when the Minnesota Senate overwhelmingly voted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“I think this is a wrong step in history, a step that we should not be going down,” said Sen. Torrey Westrom. “I think we should affirm what the legislature did in 1997. … If marriage is about marrying who you love, where does that stop?” asked Westrom, before his mike was cut, presumably because he ran out of his allotted speaking time.

Sen. Roger Reinert, a member of the Democrat-Farmwe-Labor party from Duluth, spoke movingly about the love the

unmarried senator hopes to find in his own life.

“I vote today to give something that is not really mine to give,” he said. “I vote today to recognize for all the very same desires that I have for myself. I vote today to ratify the right for all to life, liberty, and the pursuit of public happiness.”

The Minnesota House of Representatives approved the bill Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 75-59, including “aye” votes from four Republicans. In November, Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned marriage for same-sex couples, only the second time an electorate had rejected such an antigay proposal.

NEW NOW NEXT – Lucky 11: Delaware Senate Passes Marriage-Equality Bill, Governor Signs Into Law

Lucky 11: Delaware Senate Passes Marriage-Equality Bill, Governor Signs Into Law
May 7, 2013 ● by NewNowNext Staff

Photo: Equality Delaware
The Delaware senate just approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making it the 11th state to extend the right to marry to gays and lesbian couples. Governor Jack Markell signed the the bill into the law, saying “I do not intend to make any of you wait one minute longer.”

State Senator Karen Peterson came out as a lesbian for the first time publicly during debate on the bill today, saying ”no one chose to be gay–we are what God made us. We don’t need to be fixed. We aren’t broken.”

Freedom to Marry’s Marc Solomon said in a statement that the passing of this legislation “sends yet another message to the Supreme Court that it’s time for marriage for all Americans.”

The First State follows Rhode Island, which legalized marriage equality last week, and Washington, Maryland and Maine, which passed voter referendums in November.

Up next: Illinois and Minnesota!

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.”