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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Marriage Equality: Is Cyprus Next?

Around the world, the movement toward marriage equality is inexorable, however much Maggie Gallagher and her National organisation Against Marriage my claim that they have reversed the tide.   The disappointment in Maine, New York and New Jersey were stalls, not reverses.  Meanwhile, there have been a steady stream of less publicized advances elsewhere, and on other fronts. I the US, a series of court judgements have improved the prospects for both gay adoption and gay divorce.  Across the globe, there are many countries where the cause of gay marriage is moving ahead.  Cyprus just may be the next.  (Before writing this off as just a small country with limited significance, remember that Cyprus is a full member of the European Union.  Marriage Equality in Cyprus will increase the  pressure on the few remaining EU countries which have lagged behind, such as Greece and heavily Catholic Italy.)
From the Cyprus Mail:

Government to look at legalising gay marriage

THE GOVERNMENT will soon examine the issue of making same-sex marriages legal in Cyprus, Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides has told the Sunday Mail.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

With a UK general election due within months, the political issues around gay inclusion provide some fascinating contrasts with the US - and with our own recent history.  Perhaps the clearest example is that of gays in the military.  Last night, at a reception to mark the contribution of the LGBT community to British life, Prime Minister Gordon Brown "paid tribute" to gay and lesbian members of the British Defence Force.

He told guests at 10 Downing Street, including a number of gay service members, that there was a “debt of gratitude we can never fully repay”.  He said that the pride they felt was “nothing compared to the pride we feel in them”.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the British military allowing out gay soldiers.
-Pink News
Brown  himself is  sounding remarkably like Obama the candidate in his "fierce advocate" mode, promising  that
"no one need walk the road to equality alone again.”
At the comparable reception last year, he slammed the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage in California.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Brown personally has an intriguing background here.

Gay Marriage Europe Wide: 10 Year Forecast

Hot on the heels of Gordon Brown's promises on full LGBT inclusion, we have a variation on the same theme from a less exalted government source:  the openly gay Europe minister, Chris Bryant. Just as interesting as the content of his remarks, is the context:  a specialist event in which officials from the Foreign office met with representatives of Stonewall, the UK's leading gay rights organization.

The openly gay MP, told us: "I never thought that Ireland would introduce legislation on this [gay marriage] for the reasons others have cited about religion, but it is happening. So I am optimistic. I think in the next 10 years we will see it across the whole of Europe.
In the headline remarks, Bryant forecast that there will be "gay marriage" right across Europe within 10 years.  One caveat is that he does not distinguish between full (civil) marriage and civil unions or civil partnerships.  On that basis, I believe he is being pessimistic:  marriage or unions are already routine across most of Western Europe (Italy is he major exception), and are already starting to spread into parts of Eastern Europe.
One of the interesting parts of the report for me, was the insight into what the British government is already doing to advance the cause of LGBT equality globally, through its offices around the world:

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Gay Catholics protest communion refusal

A news snippet from the Netherlands.

I'm trying to find out more.  The bit that intrigues me, is that "minister" Luc Buyens decided, after talking to the bishop, "not to give anyone at the service communion", so as "not to discriminate"

From DutchNews
Monday 22 February 2010

A number of openly homosexual practising Catholics will attend a service at the St Jan basilica in Den Bosch next Sunday to directly challenge a bishop on giving communion to gay men and women.

The protest follows the refusal of minister Luc Buyens to give communion to an openly gay man who had been elected carnival prince in his home town of Reusel.

The carnival blessing is a traditional part of the festivities.

After talks with the bishop, Buyens decided not to give anyone at the service communion. 'I do not want to discriminate,' he was reported as saying.
UPDATE: Here is a fuller report, from Radio Netherlands Worldwide - but this has no reference to the non-discrimination.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Fancy a rather special venue for your gay wedding? If you're British, you may soon be able to book your venue here, in a room of the British Houses of Parliament: