Tag Archives: Gay Marriage

Brazilian judicial council: Notaries must recognize same-sex marriage

The Brazilian National Council of Justice, which oversees the nation’s judiciary, passed a resolution Tuesday that denies notaries the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

In Brazil, notaries officiate marriages and civil unions.
Recently, 12 Brazilian states began allowing same-sex couples to marry or convert their civil unions into marriages. However, since the Supreme Court does not carry legislative powers, it was up to each notary to officiate at their discretion, and many refused, citing the lack of law.
Joaquim Barbosa, president of the Council of Justice, said in the decision that notaries cannot continue to refuse to “perform a civil wedding or the conversion of a stable civil union into a marriage between persons of the same sex.”
Barbosa, who also presides over the Supreme Court, says the resolution merely follows the transformation of society.
“Our society goes through many changes, and the National Council of Justice cannot be indifferent to them,” he said.
Civil unions between same-sex couples have been recognized in Brazil since 2011, after the Supreme Court ruled that the same rights and rules that apply to “stable unions” of heterosexual couples would apply to same-sex couples, including the right to joint declaration of income tax, pension, inheritance and property sharing. People in same-sex unions are also allowed to extend health benefits to their partners, following the same rules applied to heterosexual couples.
Brazilian lawmakers have debated same-sex marriage, but in most cases, the bills introduced have not progressed through Congress.
Brazilian neighbors Uruguay and Argentina are the only other two countries in Latin America that have laws allowing same-sex couples to marry.

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UK Parliament to Vote on Equal Civil Partnerships

Straight couples could be allowed to enter civil partnerships, rather than get married, under proposals to be voted on by MPs.

MPs have tabled new amendments to gay marriage legislation currently going through Parliament to give straight couples the same rights as homosexual ones.
Campaigners said the amendment showed the changes risked weakening marriage by allowing straight couples to enter civil partnerships.
The measure, which is due to be voted on by MPs in the Commons at the end of May, would allow couples to be in civil partnerships rather than be married.
Tim Loughton, former Children’s minister, tabled the amendment to Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the Commons on Tuesday.
He said it was likely there would be “widespread support” for it when the amendment was voted on by MPs on the floor of the Commons next month.
Colin Hart, director of the Coalition for Marriage, said: “This is yet another amendment that pushes the redefinition of marriage beyond the consultation the Government has shifted its position constantly and this will report a further weakening of the institution of marriage.
The amendment will be seen as a direct challenge to Prime Minister David Cameron who suggested last month that he was against extending civil partnership rights to straight couples after MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage.
Asked by Christopher Chope MP if he will “ensure that civil partnerships are open to heterosexual couples on an equal basis with homosexual couples”, he replied: “I will obviously listen carefully to what he says.
“But frankly I am a marriage man, I am a great supporter of marriage. I want to promote marriage, defend marriage, encourage marriage.
“The great thing about last night’s vote is that two gay people who love each other will now be able to get married. That is an important advance. I think we should be promoting marriage rather than looking at any other way of weakening it.”

Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage

WASHINGTON — Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr., who opposed same-sex marriage
 during his 2012 presidential bid, signed the brief.
Meg Whitman supported Proposition 8
when she ran for California governor.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike downProposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.”
The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”
Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.
Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.
Experts say that amicus briefs generally do not change Supreme Court justices’ minds. But on Monday some said that the Republican brief, written by Seth P. Waxman, a former solicitor general in the administration of President Bill Clinton, and Reginald Brown, who served in the Bush White House Counsel’s Office, might be an exception..

New York Times, February 25th 2013
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Approval expected but full House vote likely to be tough battle 21 FEBRUARY 2013 | BY GREG HERNANDEZ The next step in the path to Illinois becoming the 10th state in the US to make gay marriage legal will come next Tuesday (26 February) when it is to be considered by the House Executive Committee.

The committee is comprised of seven Democrats and four Republicans. At least six of the members must vote in favor of sending the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to the full House for a vote. 
Since the Illinois State Senate passed the marriage equality bill by a vote of 34-21 last week, a full House vote would be the final step before Illinois Governor Pat Quinn can sign gay marriage into law. 
At least 60 House members must vote ‘yes’ to pass the legislation for it to move on to the governor.

Illinois already allows civil unions. It is believed legalizing marriage equality could generate the state anywhere from $39 to $72 million and up to $8 million in new tax revenues. 

But the marriage bill has seen strong criticism from religious and far right-wing groups.

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"Respect for Marriage" Ad Campaign

A pro-gay marriage group is set to launch a $1 million media campaign in support of same-sex nuptials, with full-page ads in several major newspapers and a television spot featuring President Barack Obama, former first lady Laura Bush and former Vice ,President Dick Cheney.

The Respect for Marriage Coalition, co-chaired by the Human Rights Campaign, is behind the ad campaign, which begins with TV spots airing on national cable and the Sunday-morning talk shows, along with ads in POLITICO, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, officials with the group said.


The goal of the spot is to show voices from both sides of the political aisle supporting gay marriage, an issue which saw statewide victories in Washington, Maryland, Maine and Minnesota on Election Day last November.

The spot doesn’t feature fresh sit-down interviews, but uses clips from Bush, Cheney, Obama and former Secretary of State Colin Powell discussing gay marriage.

In the ad, Bush is quoted as saying, “When couples are committed to each other and love each other, then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.”

Obama’s clip is from his inaugural address last month, in which he said, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”

There are two major cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that relate to gay marriage — one about the California gay marriage ban, the other about the federal Defense of Marriage Act — and the ad campaign takes place in the context of landmarks in the pro-gay marriage movement.

Pennsylvania Voters support Gay Marriage

A slim majority of Pennsylvania voters supports legalizing gay marriage, an issue that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court next month.

Fifty-two percent support gay marriage, a Franklin & Marshall poll made public Thursday shows, up from 33 percent support measured by the college in a 2006 poll. The increased support mirrors a national trend and the results of a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll in December 2011.
Muhlenberg pollster Chris Borick has been watching views on gay marriage shift dramatically. Support rose from 35 percent in 2004, to 42 percent in 2009, to 52 percent in 2011. In polling terms, he said, that’s “meteoric.”
It’s also largely generational. Of Pennsylvanians younger than 35, 79 percent support gay marriage, while those over 55 back gay marriage by 42 percent, said G. Terry Madonna, pollster for F&M in Lancaster.
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“I think in 25 years this is not going to be much of an issue,” Madonna said.
The issue has seen significant turning points in just the last year. President Barack Obama voiced his support for gay marriage ahead of the 2012 election, the national Democrats added it to their party platform and the president’s inaugural address last month was the first to include mention of gay rights.
At the end of March, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over the constitutionality of two laws, one federal and one from California, that define marriage as between one man and one woman. Nine states — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington — have legalized gay marriage.
Adrian Shanker of Bethlehem, president of Equality Pennsylvania, a nonprofit that advocates for gay equality, said Pennsylvanians and most Americans, particularly younger ones, are now viewing the gay marriage issue as a matter of civil rights.
“In six years, which is not that long in terms of public opinion on most issues, we’ve just seen a sea change,” he said. “I think hearts and minds have been changing. … Those who actively oppose it are shrinking every single day.”

– continue reading at  F&M 

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