Tag Archives: gay politics

61% of UK Christians back equal rights for gay couples – Survey

There is extensive evidence that the US is moving to embrace full equality for lesbian and gay couples, and that Catholics are more supportive than the population at large. American Evangelicals though, remain (mostly) hostile. There has not been nearly as much polling for the UK, but a new survey shows even more support than in the US – including from 61% of all Christians.

61% of Christians back equal rights for gay couples

Results of a poll released today say 61% of people in the UK who identify as Christian back fully equal rights for gay couples.

The 2011 Ipsos MORI study explored the “beliefs, knowledge and attitudes” of people who identified as Christian after the nationwide census last year.

74% of respondents said as Christians they thought religion should not have a special influence on public life.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

Six in ten respondents, 61%, agreed that gays should have the same rights in all aspects of their lives as straight people.

Only 29% said they disapproved of sexual relationships between gays. Nearly half said they did not actively disapprove.

– full report at  PinkNews.co.uk.

A word of caution here, is that the survey was sponsored by the explicitly secularist Richard Dawkins Foundation, which is using the results to demonstrate that the UK is a secular society, and not a “Christian country”. It does not appear to have released the full questionnaire or tables. The only results currently available are those selected for inclusion in the press release by the Foundation. In particular, the description “Christian” appears to be used for those who describe themselves as such – many of whom do not actively practice their religion.

There is no reason to disregard the main thrust of the finding though, which is in agreement with what previous research is available. British opinion is firmly on the side of LGBT inclusion – and that includes those who think of themselves Christian.

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Guido Westerwelle, German Vice Chancellor

27 December 1961


Guido_Westerwelle (right)  and partner Michael Mronz  (L)

Guido Westerwelle is a German liberal politician, currently serving as the Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel (since 28 October 2009). He is the first openly gay person to hold either of those positions. Since 2001, he has been the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany. A lawyer by profession, he has been a Member of Parliament since 1996.

Westerwelle joined the FDP in 1980. He was a founding member of the Junge Liberale, the youth organization of that party, and was its chairman from 1983 to 1988.

Having been a member of the Executive Board of the FDP since 1988, he first gained national prominence in 1994, when he was appointed Secretary General of the party. As such, he was a notable proponent of an unlimited free market economy and took a leading part in the drafting of a new party programme.
In 1996, Westerwelle was first elected a member of the German Bundestag, filling in for Heinz Lanfermann, who had resigned from his seat after entering the Ministry of Justice. In 1998, Westerwelle was re-elected to parliament.
In 2001, he succeeded Wolfgang Gerhardt as party chairman, who however remained chairman of the FDP’s parliamentary group. Westerwelle was then the youngest chairman in the party’s history,
Until 2004 he was not openly gay, although this was fairly common knowledge in the general public. On 20 July 2004, Westerwelle attended Angela Merkel’s 50th birthday party accompanied by his partner, businessman Michael Mronz, thereby tacitly acknowledging that he was gay. It was the first time that he attended an official event with his partner. Today, he is frank about his homosexuality and lives together with his partner Michael Mronz. The couple registered their partnership on 17 September 2010 in a private ceremony in Bonn


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Ballot Box Progress, Tues 8th November

Tuesday seems to have been a generally good night at the ballot box for LGBT Americans:


Iowa
“Democrats have held a crucial senate seat in a special election in central Iowa Tuesday. Had the seat fallen to Republicans, it would have allowed the Iowa Senate to potentially proceed with revocation procedures of legal gay marriage in the state.” ChicagoPride.com

Michigan

Voters in Traverse City, have overwhelmingly voted to keep a nondiscrimination ordinance that protects LGBT people from bias, after conservative voters attempting to derail the proposal forced a referendum.

Houston

Annise Parker has been re-elected as mayor  without a runoff election.

Mike Laster is now  the first openly gay man elected to the Houston City Council.

Montana

Out lesbian Caitlin Copple has been elected to the Missoula council, defeating a hostile, anti-gay incumbent.

Cincinnati

Has its first openly LGBT city councillor, with the election of Chris Coolbach, who had earlier led a campaign to repeal an anti-gay city ordinance.

Charlotte, NC

Has its first openly LGBT city councillor. LaWana Mayfield won her runoff, after earlier defeating an incumbent in the Democratic primary.

New Jersey

Tim Eustace, already the mayor of Montgomery, has been elected to the state assembly – the first openly gay non-incumbent to do so.

Bruce Harris was elected mayor of Chattam Borough – the first African American, openly gay Republican mayor anywhere.

Connecticut

Pedro Segarra was easily re-elected as mayor of Hartford.

Indianapolis

Zach Adamson, who becomes the first openly LGBT city councilmember

Virginia

Adam Ebbin, a Virginia Delegate, who became the first openly gay State Senator

Massachusetts

Alex Morse became the first openly gay mayor of Holyoke

Fiji first to declare gay rights in Pacific – Fiji Times Online

“FIJI became the first Pacific island nation to formally decriminalise consensual homosexuality last year, the world’s second largest gathering on HIV/AIDS was told.
Despite this significant step forward, there was a distinct lack of information about men who had sex with men (MSM) and transgender people in Fiji, a report tabled at the congress on AIDS said.
The report from Amithi Fiji ù a project that focuses on Fijian of Indian descent transgender and MSM ù said attempts were made by the Government to include in HIV surveillance studies of MSM and transgender (TG) issues.”

Out in Politics: Gay Republican Elected to City Ward.

In an intriguing sign of the times, an openly gay Republican has been elected to represent a ward in Springfield, Illinois.

Cory Jobe, an openly gay Republican, was elected alderman of the Ward 6 in Springfield on April 5, according to the State Journal-Register.

It seems that Republicans don’t want to see gays represented at CPAC – but they’re quite happy to have them elected. Taken together with gay presidential candidate Fred Karger‘s unexpected and remarkable straw poll win in New Hampshire last week, I’m beginning to sense that the GOP infighting over LGBT in 2012 could be quite some fun to watch.

Full Marriage Equality for the UK?

When the UK first implemented civil partnerships, it was commonly reported as gay “marriage”, and widely viewed as marriage in everything but name. With the passing of time and greater familiarity, the feeling has grown that “everything but name” doesn’t cut it, that separate isn’t equal, and that names matter. There has been increasing public pressure to upgrade to full marriage, and increasing support for the idea from leading politicians – without any firm commitments from the ones with the clout to implement it.
Today, a prediction (not a promise) from Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes is the clearest indication that the change will indeed come. The difficulty is the time scale. Mr Hughes has not said anything more than that it will be “before the next general election” – that is within the next five years. That’s all very well, but with the gay marriage train accelerating worldwide, five years from now, gay marriage will be routine across much of the world. I certainly agree that the UK will have full marriage equality by 2015 – but I hope it can be somewhat earlier than that.

This is from the Telegraph:

‘Gay couples will get equal right to marry’

The Coalition will give homosexual couples the same legal rights to marriage as heterosexuals, a senior Liberal Democrat has said.

Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, said that the Government will allow same-sex couples to have “civil marriage” with same legal status as marriage between a man and a woman.
His comments follow moves by a Lib Dem minister to allow homosexual couples to have religious elements to their civil partnership ceremonies.
Under current rules, same-sex couples can contract a civil partnership, which is recognised in law but not given the same status as marriage for a heterosexual couple.
Mr Hughes predicted that before the next general election, the law will be changed to give an equal right to full marriage.
“It would be appropriate in Britain in 2010 to have civil marriage for straight people and gay people equally,” he said.
“The state ought to give equality. We’re halfway there. I think we ought to be able to get there in this Parliament.”
Earlier this month, Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, said the Coalition was considering allowing same-sex couples to include key religious elements in civil partnership ceremonies.
The full equality that Mr Hughes advocated would go further than that, although he insisted any change would be limited to civil marriage and would not place any obligations on religious groups to marry same-sex couples.
Mr Hughes, regarded as being on the left of the Lib Dems, has been critical of some Coalition policies and has threatened to reject parts of the Government’s Budget package.
But, in comments in an internet-based interview, he backed the Coalition and said it was increasingly following a Lib Dem agenda.
“All the time, we are making Tories, at least Tories in government, more enlightened and that must be good for the country,” he said.
During the election campaign, the Conservatives were the only main party to suggest that they would consider allowing full homosexual marriage. Some lawyers say that would be easier to legislate for than altering existing laws on civil partnership and civil marriage.