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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for January, 2012

France to upgrade couple recognition

Timothy Kincaid

January 13th, 2012

Of those European nations which offer recognition to their same-sex couples, France’s form, Pacte civil de solidarité (PACS), is probably the weakest. And while they do offer protections and rights and there are some amusing advantages to a nation providing such a structure (many young heterosexual couples enter PACS as a sort of pre-marriage tryout), they simply do not provide equality. Gay couples are stuck in the “tryout” phase.

But that seems likely to change.

A poll to be released tomorrow will show that about two-thirds of the French (63%) support opening marriage to same-sex couples. And French politicians are scrambling to show that they are in alignment with the will of the French people. (Bloomberg)

Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party candidate and front- runner before the two-round election in April and May, supports homosexual marriage and will add it to his platform, Manuel Valls, head of communication for the Socialist campaign, said on RMC radio today.

And President Nicolas Sarkozy, while continuing to oppose same-sex marriage, has discovered a new-found interest in establishing a civil union provision that contains all of the rights, privileges, and duties of marriage.

Regardless of who wins which position in French Government, it is inevitable that the shame of offering less liberté, égalité, or fraternité than their ancient frenemies the Spanish, Dutch and British (especially the British) will eventually lead to change.

French Protest American Ex-Gay Program in Tolouse

Jim Burroway

November 9th, 2011

Organizers of Rainbow Toulouse had hoped that maybe a hundred people at the most might to show up in front of a small Evangelical church to protest a planned ex-gay seminar. Instead, they were pleasantly surprised to see between 200 and 300 protesters turning out. Michel Megnin, secretary of Rainbow Toulouse, called the showing “the most important LGBT gathering in Toulouse aside from Gay Pride.” Protesters denounced the ministry, saying “we are not sick.” Another sardonically noted the price of an ex-gay seminar that was scheduled for last weekend and said,  ”At €330 (US$400), I am too poor to become straight.”

The scheduled seminar, scheduled for last weekend, is affiliated with Andrew Comiskey’s Living Waters program in the U.S.  Comiskey, a former president of Exodus International, has been aggressively expanding his Desert Stream Ministries and its Living Waters program in Canada and Europe. Former ex-gay leader Vonnie Pits issued an apology for her role in a Living Waters-based program she set up in New South Wales, Australia. Last year, Comiskey posted an admission on his blog that a staffer at DSM had sexually abused at least one teenager under their care. But instead of publicly apologizing for the appalling transgression or expressing anguish over the teen’s abuse, he talked about his own anguish over having been interrogated by police and liability insurers, and he thanked his god that “God spared us” from the humiliation of their story appearing in the newspapers. In 2005, DSM moved to Kansas City where Comiskey announcedhe was partnering with Dominionist theologian Mike Bickle (organizer of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s crusade in Houston) and the International House of Prayer. DSM  reportedly uses “extreme methods that involve forms of exorcism (deliverance/healing prayer) and rely on teachings that believe that people become gay through demonic influences and the sins of ancestors.”  

You can see a video testimony of an ex-gay survivor of Living Waters here.

France votes “no” on to marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

June 14th, 2011

France has a limited second-tier recognition it allows for same sex couples, pacte civil de solidarité. It appears that this will remain the case for a while (Pink News)

The French parliament has rejected a bill designed to give gay couples the right to marry.

Today, lawmakers voted by 293 votes to 222 to block the bill, which was not expected to pass.

This is a bit ironic. One of the unexpected results of offering the second tier PACS is that many opposite-sex couples are opting for PACS as a sort of trial-marriage rather than take on the full obligations in marriage. Those who voted for religious beliefs about marriage being ideal or who sought to “protect marriage” actually hurt their cause.

France’s anti-gay marriage ban upheld

Timothy Kincaid

January 29th, 2011

Of all the schemes in Europe by which various nations recognize same-sex couples, France’s (PACS) is among the weakest. Sophie Hasslauer and Corinne Cestino sued for marriage rights and the supreme court ruled that gay couples are not entitled to equality under France’s constitution. (NY Times)

The constitutional council upheld longstanding legislation on Friday that effectively bans marriage for same-sex couples. The council ruled that civil code references to marriage as a union between a man and woman were not contrary to the Constitution, and said the legislature could change the law if it saw fit. “The principle of equality prohibits neither that the legislature regulate differing situations in differing manners, nor that it depart from equality for reasons of general interest,” the decision said.

Perhaps that makes sense in French.

More sensationalistic HIV headlines

Timothy Kincaid

September 8th, 2010

Here’s a Reuters headline from France:

HIV spread “out of control” among French gay men

And here’s the meat of the story:

Thursday’s study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, found that HIV in France fell significantly from 8,930 new infections in 2003 to 6,940 in 2008.

But the number of new infections among gay men was stable despite a decline in other groups, and accounted for 48 percent of new cases in France in 2008.

To Reuters “stable” = “out of control”

Yes, France has unacceptably high HIV infection rates – nearly 10% of gay men. Yes, we need to address the increase in young gay men who seem to be receiving ineffective messaging. Absolutely.

But, really!

Defenders of marriage be warned: you may be killing it

Timothy Kincaid

May 19th, 2010

Evidence from Europe suggests that those who so ardently oppose same-sex marriage need to ask themselves a question: do you want to save marriage, or do you want to be anti-gay? It appears that doing both may not be a long term option.

It is a foregone conclusion that some form of recognition of same-sex relationships is coming to every state in the union. And soon. With two thirds of the citizens supporting marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions, or some other model – a number which is trending favorably – it is inevitable.

So the only question is whether it will be incremental, signing a register, a few rights doled out, no responsibilities, easy termination and no formality; or if it will be full marriage (or civil unions equal to marriage)? Will it be grudging and as little as they can get away with so as to keep gays in their place, or will it be all at once?

Supporters of “traditional marriage” may have to fight their instincts and opt for equality (or near equality). Because quasi-marriage, glorified “going together”, may prove to be a tempting alternative for heterosexuals. It may actually detract from marriage. It certainly seems to in France. (BBC)

A heterosexual Austrian couple have embarked on a court battle to have their relationship legally recognised as a “registered partnership” – a new form of civil union for same-sex couples.

Helga Ratzenboeck and Martin Seydl say they don’t want a traditional marriage and insist that the law should be blind to gender and sexuality.

Meanwhile, the kind of pared-down marriage they want is proving a huge hit with straight couples in France, where 95% of couples taking up the pacte civil de solidarite (Pacs) in 2009 were heterosexual.

As the number of straight French couples opting for Pacs has grown, the number of marriages has shrunk, to the point that there are now two couples entering into a Pacs for every three getting married.

Some might look at the overall picture of a cumulative increase in those who make some form of commitment (see chart), but “traditional marriage supporters” tend not to think like that.

I, of course, think it smartest just to make marriage available to all and be done with the drama. Then we can get on with the important task of bitching about who is going where for Thanksgiving.

Adoption in France

Timothy Kincaid

November 11th, 2009

Gay rights in Europe have different difficulties than in the States. Where here the battle is over legal rights and recognition for couples, European countries tend to place more restrictions on parenting. For example, in France where PACS have been legal since 2006, only heterosexual married couples can adopt.

Radio France Internationale is reporting that a breakthrough has just been accomplished in France:

School teacher Emmanuelle B. should receive the necessary paperwork within 15 days following Tuesday morning’s decision, capping off a long court battle that has lasted more than 10 years.

Emmanuelle and her partner Laurence R., a school psychologist, have been living together for twenty years, and meet the requirements of seriousness and stability asked of prospective adopters, the judges wrote in their decision.

Her battle has been through French courts, the European Court of Human Rights, and back again. And it appears that, at least in this instance, Emmanuelle’s desire to be a parent will not be blocked by legislative roadblocks.

But the decision isn’t an outright victory for homosexual couples.

“The judge authorised a woman, who made her request to adopt as an individual, not a homosexual couple as such,” he said.

French Support Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

July 24th, 2008

Canadian anti-gay news site LifeSiteNews.com is reporting on a recent poll taken in France

According to the survey, 62% of respondents were in favor of allowing homosexual “marriage,” up from 45% in a similar survey conducted in 2006, and 51% were in favor of allowing homosexual couples to adopt, up from 36% in 2006.

France currently provides limited recognition of couples by means of a contract called Pacte civil de solidarité (PACS).

Marriage Rights Around the World

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:

Marriage

Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)

Civil Unions

New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)

Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership

Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)

Other Methods of Limited Recognition

France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)

Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.

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