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The Daily Agenda for Thursday, December 6

Jim Burroway

December 6th, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Licences Become Available: Maryland and Washington. Thanks to marriage quality ballot victories in Maryland and Washington State last month, same-sex couples can begin taking out marriage licenses in those two states beginning today.

In Washington, King County and Thurston counties opened their auditors’ offices at 12:01 a.m. to begin accepting license applications as soon as the new marriage law takes affect. A few other counties have announced extended hours to handle the expected demand. Paul Harris and his partner of forty years, James Griener will probably be the first to obtain a marriage license in Clark County when that Auditor’s office opens at 8:00 a.m. That’s because Harris works there, where his duties include issuing marriage licenses. For decades he was never allowed to issue a license for himself and his partner. Until now. Because Washington observes a three day waiting period for all marriages, the first same-sex weddings won’t occur until Sunday. Seattle’s gay-affirming First Baptist Church will host a mass wedding ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday for the first 50 couples who register.

Maryland’s voter approved marriage equality law doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2013, but several counties will begin issuing post-dated marriage licenses as early as today, as soon as Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) formally signs a proclamation certifying that voters approved Question 6. Attorney General General Douglas F. Gansler’s written opinion allowing clerks to issue post-dated licenses also includes other specific instructions:

The attorney general’s opinion also included what might be a bit of disappointing news for some gay couples. Marylanders who already wed in another state where gay marriage is legal cannot now legally marry in their home state. Since Maryland already recognized legal gay marriages from other states, the logic is the same as if a straight couple who got married in, say, Hawaii, tried to hold a second legal wedding here. And in further proof that a civil union is not the same as a marriage, those who were joined in such an arrangement in another state can get married here — but not if they are trying to marry someone new.

A representative from the Maryland Association on Circuit Court Clerks said that about two-thirds of the state’s counties plan to begin issuing licenses before New Year’s Day. In those counties which won’t be issuing post-dated marriage licenses, the earliest that couples will be able to obtain a license will be January 2, since Circuits Courts will be closed on the January 1 holiday.

Protest At Ugandan Embassy: London, UK. With the Ugandan Anti-HOmosexuality Bill rearing its ugly head again, the Kampala-based Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Uganda has called for protest actions at Ugandan Embassies around the world. Already there have been protests at embassies in Washington, D.C., New York, Paris and Copenhagen.  Now it’s London’s turn, as human rights advocates join members from the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Workers Union to protest in front of the Ugandan Embassy at Trafalgar Square this afternoon from 2:30 to 4:00.

Events This Weekend: Mad Bear, Madrid, Spain; Pride Manila, Manila, Philippines.

Wisconsin Sheriffs Call For Indeterminate Sentences for Gay People: 1944. The annual convention of the Wisconsin Sheriffs Association, meeting at Milwaukee’s Schroeder Hotel, passed several resolutions, including one endorsing a bill being proposed by the Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association which would mandate medical treatment and indeterminate sentences for gay people who were charged with disorderly conduct. The problem, apparently, was that the current law only carried light fines and minimal jail sentences.

American Medical Association Opposes Gay Cures: 1994. The AMA’s governing House of Delegates adopted a revised policy paper calling for an end to efforts to change sexual orientation. The old position paper titled, “Health Care Needs of the Homosexual Population,” which had been adopted in 1981, had read, that “some homosexual groups maintain, contrary to the bulk of scientific evidence, that preferential or exclusive homosexuality can never be changed, these people may be discouraged form seeking adequate psychiatric consultation. What is more important is that this myth may also be accepted by homosexuals.”

But by 1994, the AMA became convinced that the growing psychological evidence demonstrated that whatever disturbance gay people may have felt about their sexual orientation “is due more to a sense of alienation in an unaccepting environment” and called for “nonjudgmental recognition of sexual orientation by physicians. The AMA also said that “aversion therapy” — which involved showing a gay man, for example, nude pictures of men and shocking them with a jolt of electricity — “is no longer recommended for gay men and lesbians.” It went on: “Through psychotherapy, gay men and lesbians can become comfortable with their sexual orientation and understand the social responses to it.” The new policy paper was adopted without dissent.

If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

As always, please consider this your open thread for the day.



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