The District Council in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has passed a Sinn Fein motion in favour of “supporting the same rights and entitlements to civil marriages for all citizens of Fermanagh regardless of race, religion or sexuality.” The motion passed, despite strong DUP opposition, with one councillor stating his religious objections to allowing all citizens to marry.
This is the second time the council tried to pass the bill – it failed the first time, in September.
ABC has just released a new poll on for gay-rights issues – marriage equality, gays in the Boy Scouts, banning gay Scout leaders, and Jason Collins recent announcement that he is gay. Joe.My.God reports:
Backing is widest and deepest for Collins, with 68 percent of Americans saying they support the NBA center’s decision to announce his sexual orientation. Those who “strongly” support his step outnumber his strong critics by a 3-1 margin. A substantial 63 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, also support the Boy Scouts’ plan to begin admitting gay scouts younger than 18, while 56 percent oppose its intention to continue to ban gay adults. Again strength of sentiment favors gay rights, by 16- and 12-point margins, respectively. Both policies go to a vote of the group’s governing council, meeting the week of May 20 in Grapevine, Texas. Some of these views even overcome political sentiment to some degree. Majorities of Republicans and conservatives, 52 and 54 percent, respectively, support Collins’ step, and 53 percent of Republicans support admitting gay scouts. These groups are much less apt to support admitting gay scout leaders or legalizing gay marriage.
According to the poll, support for marriage equality is becoming more and more lopsided, with 55% supporting it and only 40% opposed. However, only 33% of Republicans support it.
The UK’s gay marriage bill is finally back on the table, with debate planned in the House of Commons on May 20 and 21st. Pink News reports:
The bill’s remaining stages will be debated on 20 and 21 May, Leader of the Commons Andrew Lansley told MPs on Thursday. If the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is approved on 21 May, it will then pass to the Lords for further scrutiny. A group of MPs has been taking detailed evidence on the proposals in a public committee since February. The House of Commons Public Bill Committee received testimony from both advocates and critics of the bill.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is hopeful that gays and lesbians will be able to marry by this summer in the UK.
In recent weeks, Prime Minister David Cameron has once again been on the receiving end of criticism for pushing for marriage equality. Another such attack came yesterday from MP Dr. William McCrea, who sided the absence of the bill in the “Queen’s Speech” as an indication that the government was no longer pushing the marriage quality but so hard. Pink News reports:
In February, Conservative Equalities Minister Helen Grant dismissed this claim, saying: “It was in the Contract for Equalities that was published at the same time as the Conservative General Election manifesto. It was quite clear what our intentions may well be.” Downing Street said yesterday there was no need for the bill to be in the speech because it was a “carry-over” measure introduced midway through the last session.
McCrea went on to add:
“The prime minister should reflect on whether parliamentary time should be devoted to pushing through the redefinition of marriage. No party has a mandate for that change, and many Conservative activists who have deserted to UKIP have cited the government’s pushing that legislation through this Parliament as showing that they are out of touch with the day-to-day concerns of ordinary voters.”
And yet, marriage equality is a day to day concern for many ordinary gay and lesbian voters. And their families. And their close friends. Perhaps Dr. McCrea doesn’t count LGBT folks as constituents?
In the wake of the passage of the marriage equality bill in Delaware, the Delaware Family Policy Council promises to help run out of office legislators who voted for the bill, especially those who were expected to vote no. On Top Magazine reports:
Speaking to the News Journal, Theis had a warning for lawmakers who voted for the bill. “There are legislators who said they would vote ‘no’ on redefining marriage. We trusted them. We stood by them. Now we must hold them accountable,” she said. “We did poll Senator Hall-Long’s district, because she has very active evangelical churches in her district. According to that polling, she will be replaced,” Theis said.
Of course, elections are still a long ways away, and Delaware is already at 54% support for marriage equality, according to the latest polling. So good luck with that.
Our regular feature – what anti-gay folks are saying about us. Think Progress reports that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a new bulletin regarding marriage and the Supreme Court:
The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the “Roe v. Wade” of marriage. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children.
The primary difference between this and Roe v. Wade, of course, is a public opinion is already much stronger for marriage equality than it was in favor of choice at the time of that decision. Maybe the bishops are hoping that such a comparison will encourage marriage equality opponents to wage a continuing fight against marriage equality?
One more for you this morning – to pastors with a radio show have found a new metaphor for homosexuality – the flesh eating virus. LGBTQ Nation reports:
The body itself is shot through with this disease and it is occasionally busting through in these sores called homosexuality and these sores seem to be spreading all the time,” Swanson said, “They are taking these sores and they are carving happy faces into them, they are calling this sore ‘gay’ and they are carving happy faces into them, they are making it appear to be a wonderful, wonderful thing that we have these sores breaking out.” Buehner elaborated on the analogy, calling homosexuality a “nasty flesh eating virus” that is spreading “all over the body” and lamenting that political and religious leaders who support gay rights are like “shepherds leading the sheep to death.”
Lovely. And these guys call themselves Christians?
A minor change to the bill’s language might make it more palatable to GOP politicians. CBS Minnesota reports:
The House is scheduled to debate and vote Thursday on a measure that would make the state the 12th in the country to allow gay marriage. An amendment posted Wednesday from GOP Rep. David FitzSimmons suggests reframing the bill’s proposed changes to Minnesota’s marriage laws, swapping in the term “civil marriages” in all instances whether couples are of the same or different genders. Richard Carlbom, director of Minnesotans United, the lobby group pushing for gay marriage, told The Associated Press that the group is backing the amendment. It’s meant to guarantee that religious organizations couldn’t be fined, punished or stripped of special status for refusing to perform gay marriages.
The Minnesota House vote is scheduled tomorrow, and the Senate will likely vote on it this weekend.
The US Supreme Court will rule on the Prop 8 case sometime between now and the start of July. AFER has a flow chart of how the decision might go:
The Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of its term in June on whether Proposition 8, California’s ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples, violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Here’s what could happen:
That means, generally speaking, Pennsylvanians “generally” support marriage equality, 54-41 (up two points from last month) — while Pennsylvanians specifically support a PA constitutional amendment to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, 53-43 (up 11 points from last year).
Against this backdrop, a GOP lawmaker in the state is trying to push an amendment to ban it. Towleroad.com reports:
Pennsylvania does not need to wait for the United States Supreme Court to rule on what natural law already declares as self-evident … Marriage is a sacred bond that can only be fulfilled by one man and one woman, as established by God. Final passage of my legislation will allow state lawmakers to exercise their rightful responsibility and obligation to uphold the rule of law and the will of the people.
It’s not going so well:
In the last session, the bill had 40 supporters, but today, according to a rep from Brian Sims’ office, there are only 27. And this is the first time it’s been introduced with zero Democratic backers.
All of New England now has embraced marriage equality – and the only state east of the state without it is New Jersey. How much longer can Pennsylvania hold out?