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Posts for April, 2013

Ireland moves towards equality

Timothy Kincaid

April 17th, 2013

For years, Ireland’s politicians have said, “I support gay marriage, truly I do, but the constitution won’t let me vote for equality.”

That’s changing: (CS Monitor)

Ireland’s Constitutional Convention, a body set up by the government to propose wide-ranging changes to Ireland’s Constitution, voted Sunday, with 79 percent in favor of extending marriage rights to same sex couples.

The next step is likely a referendum. The Irish, living in a good Catholic country, overwhelmingly support equality.

Britain Suspends All Foreign Aid To Uganda

Jim Burroway

November 18th, 2012

Not because Uganda may be poised to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill soon, but because corruption in Uganda is so rampant that the UK has no idea where its money has gone.

Britain has suspended all direct aid to the Ugandan government with immediate effect, the international development secretary, Justine Greening, announced on Friday.

Aid to the Ugandan prime minister’s office was frozen in August, following allegations of fraud, while an independent forensic audit was ordered. Greening has now suspended other bilateral aid, which is spent through Uganda‘s financial systems, known as direct financial aid.

…”Britain has frozen all UK aid spent through the Ugandan government. This is a result of initial evidence emerging from our ongoing forensic audit of the office of the prime minister, which indicates aid money may have been misused,” said DfID. “We are extremely concerned by these preliminary findings and we will assess the decision further when we have considered the full findings of the report. Unless the government of Uganda can show that UK taxpayers’ money is going towards helping the poorest people lift themselves out of poverty, this aid will remain frozen and we will expect repayment and administrative and criminal sanctions.”

Auditors discovered that joint foreign aid funding from Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden to the tune of €12 million  (£10 million, US$15 million) have mysteriously shown up in the private bank accounts of officials in prime minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s office. Those countries and Britain suspended its aid to the Prime Minister’s office in August, and Britain has now expanded that freeze to include the entire Ugandan government. Britain was due to provide £11.1 million (US$17.7 million) in direct aid between now and the end of March. Total bilateral aid for the year was set for £98.9 million (US$157 million), but it’s not clear how much of that bilateral aid has already been spent.

Ireland’s Tánaiste pushing for marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

November 13th, 2012

From Irish Times

Tánaiste [deputy prime minister] Eamon Gilmore would like to see a referendum on same-sex marriage “as soon as possible”, he said today.

Mr Gilmore said his own view was the “time has come” for marriage of same-sex couples. “I don’t believe we should postpone what is a human right,” he told RTÉ radio.

The referendum would come in advance of Ireland’s upcoming constitutional convention.

So thats why it’s called that

Timothy Kincaid

April 2nd, 2012

From ABC we have this:

A Catholic priest in Northern Ireland has found himself in hot water after he accidentally displayed a series of pornographic gay images during a presentation to parents of children preparing to receive First Holy Communion.

Father Martin McVeigh projected 16 “indecent images of men” on a projector screen during a March 26 PowerPoint presentation to a group of 26 parents at St. Mary’s School in Pomeroy, Ireland, the BBC reports.

Naturally Father McVeigh has no idea where those pictures came from or how they ended up on the memory stick he inserted into the computer. Here we call such a device a flash drive.

Why the word “marriage” matters

Timothy Kincaid

January 29th, 2011

Many people – and I used to be one of them – believe that domestic partnerships are an adequate response to the needs of same-sex couples and that our battle over the word “marriage” is a distraction, an unnecessary obstacle that alienates potential supporters and does not take the feeling of others into consideration. I have grown beyond that position, and now see that our goal of marriage is an essential one, for a number of reasons.

First, I understand that at this point in our progress, the selection of domestic partnerships or civil unions rather than marriage is specifically designed to make a statement that same-sex unions are inferior. As the language in one of Hawaii’s proposed civil unions bills puts it:

The legislature also acknowledges the traditional and special role of marriage in our society and seeks to protect it by establishing a new and separate status for these other loving and committed relationships. In order to both respect traditional marriage and provide equity to other couples, it is the intent of the legislature to recognize civil unions in Hawaii.

Secondly, I have serious doubts about the ability of a secondary, lesser-status institution to consistently provide equal access, services, or application of law. Separate but equal has seldom proven in history to be nearly as equal as it was separate.

Third, I believe that same-sex couples are entitled to the social and societal connotations that come with the word, customs, and traditions of marriage and that this are in the best interest of society. I believe that calling our unions something else can reduce important social expectations both on the part of those in the couple and the demands that the community place on married couples.

From many first hand reports, it seems that marriage changes people in ways that civil unions or domestic partnerships have not yet fully accomplished. “I’m married now,” seems to have a great deal of internal meaning.

But perhaps the most obvious reasons for eliminating the hodge-podge patchwork of nomenclatures created to make sure that same-sex couples aren’t really married, is that they are confusing. No one knows what they mean.

By my counting, same-sex couples are currently recognized by means of marriage, common-law marriage, civil union, civil partnership, domestic partnership with full equality, limited domestic partnership, registered partnership, unregistered partnership, life partnership, PACS, law of same-sex relationship, reciprocal benefits, itemized specific rights, and (most frequently) not at all. It’s no wonder that it is confusing.

And I’m not just talking about your Aunt Matilda who gets the newspaper so she can play WordSearch. The Republic of Ireland has no idea what rights or privileges are granted by what scheme.

This year Ireland, as part of it’s new civil partnerships law, decided to recognize marriages – and similar institutions – from other nations as civil partnerships within its borders. And so, with Statutory Instrument 649, Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice and Law Reform, announced which other nations and states would have their forms recognized:

Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Mexico City, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Also, from the United States, Ireland will recognize California (marriages only), Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington D.C.

What is missing? Domestic Partnerships in California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada which offer every right, privilege, obligation and duty of marriage, but with another name.

Ireland picked up New Jersey’s civil unions, but they simply had no idea what a “domestic partnership” might be. They also missed civil unions from Andora, Uruguay, and Equador along with Luxembourg’s civil partnerships.

But they didn’t miss any countries that recognize marriage. There’s no confusion there.

Ireland formally recognizes same-sex couple

Timothy Kincaid

January 17th, 2011

Although civil unions (which became legal at the beginning of the year) require a three month notice period under the laws of the Republic of Ireland, the nation began recognition of same-sex couples married abroad on Thursday. And on that day, officials officially recognized one such couple. (IrishTimes)

The couple, who work at Argos, formed a civil partnership at a ceremony in Northern Ireland last year.

Like other same-sex couples with a previous foreign civil marriage or partnership, their union became recognised under Irish law since last Thursday.

[But in the case of Glenn Cunningham and Adriano Vilar], there was a twist. On that same day, by chance, the pair were on a day off and at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service offices trying to sort out Vilar’s residency status. He is Brazilian and has been living here on a student visa for the past two years or so.

“At first the officials didn’t know what to do, they’d never dealt with a legally binding civil partnership involving a gay couple,” recalls Mr Cunningham (43). “Eventually, the officials came back and said: ‘Congratulations – you’re the first couple in Ireland to be recognised as civil partners’. We were shocked – we couldn’t believe it!”

Mr Villar (29), adds: “My reaction was like, ‘Wow-wee, yahoo! Really?’ I’ve always felt quite insecure – only living here on a student visa. We went off and got a bottle of champagne to celebrate.”

Congratulations to Glenn and Adriano and to the many other Irish couples who now have, or soon will have, recognition in their homeland.

Your relationship recognized in Ireland; Irish couples can start the three month notice

Timothy Kincaid

December 25th, 2010

As of January 1, same-sex couples in Ireland may give notice of their intent to join in a civil partnership. As with marriage, there is a three month waiting period before the ceremony can take place. (Irish Examiner)

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern [on Thursday] signed the Commencement Orders for the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010.

Enacted in July, the Act establishes a civil partnership registration scheme for same-sex couples together with a range of rights, obligations and protections including maintenance obligations, protection of a shared home, pension rights and succession.

The minister also signed orders which will automatically recognise a wide range of foreign same-sex civil marriages and same-sex civil partnerships as Irish civil partnerships. Same-sex couples who are already married or are civil partners through these recognised foreign relationships will be deemed civil partners in Ireland from early January.

NY St. Pattys Day Parade – more anti-gay than Irish

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, who control and operate the St. Patrict’s Day Parade in New York City, have long opposed allowing gay Irishmen to participate as such. This is matter of pride as good Irish Catholics.

Of course, real good Irish Catholics don’t have so much of a problem with Teh Ghey. The Irish in Ireland seem to be rather fond of gay folk. So much so, that the President of Ireland declined an offer to be Grand Marshall of the parade if they wouldn’t let gay folk participate. (Irish Central)

Irish President Mary McAleese has turned down an invitation to be grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2011, the historic 250th anniversary of the event.

The turn down is said to be connected to the issue of gays being refused the right to march in the parade under their own banners, and McAleese’s strong relationship with gay and lesbian organizations in Ireland.

Although having President McAleese (a devout Catholic) as Grand Marshall on this important anniversary would have been quite a coup for the AOH, it was far more important that they keep gay Irish people out of the Irish celebration.

Irish eyes are smiling at you

Timothy Kincaid

September 15th, 2010

From Ireland Today:

Just over two-thirds of people (67 per cent) believe gay couples should be allowed to marry, according to an Irish Times /Behaviour Attitudes social poll.

In addition showing strong support for gay marriage, a significant majority (60 per cent) also believe civil partnerships for gay couples will not undermine the institution of marriage. A large majority (91 per cent) also say they would not think less of a person if they revealed they were gay or lesbian.

If I translate that correctly, there is some percentage who support marriage for same sex couple because they fear the civil partnerships undermine the institution. Personally, I think there is merit in that argument.

Ireland’s civil partnerships law become effective in January and politicians are already planning ahead for full marriage equality. I wonder if the Pope is noticing the same correlation as the rest of us?

Civil Unions signed in Ireland

Timothy Kincaid

July 19th, 2010

From the Irish Times:

The Civil Partnership Bill, which provides legal recognition for same-sex couples in Ireland for the first time, has today been signed into law.

The Bill was signed into law by President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin this morning

It extends marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples in the areas of property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax.

Meanwhile, its neighbor is still talking about full marriage rights. (Pink News)

Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that the government will give gay couples the right to civil marriage.

He predicted that the change would be made before the next general election.

Mr Hughes said a consultation would take place in the coalition government on taking civil partnership to the next level.

Speaking in a video interview, he said: “It would be appropriate in Britain in 2010, 2011, for there to be the ability for civil marriage for straight people and gay people equally.

Ireland civil unions update

Timothy Kincaid

July 9th, 2010


The civil unions bill in Ireland has now passed the upper house.

From Pink News

The bill, which grants almost all of the rights of marriage, passed in the Dail last week and was approved in the Seanad last night after two days of debate.

It passed with the support of 48 senators, with just four voting against, and will be sent to President Mary McAleese, who can approve it or refer it to the Supreme Court if she believes it may be unconstitutional.

Ireland’s Dáil passes civil partnerships

Timothy Kincaid

July 1st, 2010

green = marriage; red = other recognition

From IrishTimes

The Bill recognising the civil partnership of same-sex couples passed all stages in the Dáil tonight without a vote.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said the Civil Partnership Bill would put in place a legal regime that reflected the many forms of relationships in modern Irish society.

The bill is far from perfect. It does not provide protection for children, and does not provide full marriage recognition. But as of the implementation of this bill gay couples will have greatly increased rights, privileges and responsibilities for each other.

Congratulations!

UPDATE: This was not the final step. The legislation will now go to be ratified by the Seanad, the upper chamber.

We’ll keep you updated.

Ireland’s vote on civil partnerships to come today

Timothy Kincaid

July 1st, 2010

From Irish Times

The final Dáil debate on the Civil Partnership Bill is to take place today.

The purpose of the new Bill is to establish an extensive package of rights, obligations and protections for same-sex couples who register as civil partners.

The bill is expected to pass and will become law in the fall.

Two thoughts on the Pope’s Pastoral Letter

Timothy Kincaid

March 22nd, 2010

pope eyesPope Benedict XVI has sent a Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics in response to the Church’s crisis over child-molesting priests. It has been fairly universally condemned as inadequate and uncaring. Personally, I find it to be one of the most arrogant and self-serving of all possible responses the Pope could have given. But perhaps I’m biased.

I did, however, note two things I want to note.

First, the Pope writes as though this were a letter to the Southern Baptists, rather than to part of the Catholic family. All condemnations are directed at “you” and “the Church in your country”. It seems to me that this Pope wishes to make clear that he holds neither himself, the Vatican, the hierarchy, nor the political, legal, or pastoral policies of the Church as a whole to have any share in the failings.

It seems that he wishes to portray this tragedy as a singular incident, a failing of the Irish, rather than as a part of what is rapidly becoming a global epidemic.

Second, the Pope seems to want parents to take their share in the blame. He writes:

8. To parents

You have been deeply shocked to learn of the terrible things that took place in what ought to be the safest and most secure environment of all. In today’s world it is not easy to build a home and to bring up children. They deserve to grow up in security, loved and cherished, with a strong sense of their identity and worth. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person, to be inspired by the truth of our Catholic faith and to learn ways of behaving and acting that lead to healthy self-esteem and lasting happiness. This noble but demanding task is entrusted in the first place to you, their parents. I urge you to play your part in ensuring the best possible care of children, both at home and in society as a whole, while the Church, for her part, continues to implement the measures adopted in recent years to protect young people in parish and school environments. As you carry out your vital responsibilities, be assured that I remain close to you and I offer you the support of my prayers.

pope vader
While this, on the surface, appears as sage counsel to live up to our duty to our children, I wonder if His Holiness has considered the meaning of this advice.

The Pope has said that it is the duty of parents to ensure the best possible care for children. Taking this in the context of priest abuse it means, in effect, that parents failed by trusting the Church and her officers.

When the Church said, “bring your children to us for altar duty”, parents failed by listening. When the Church said, “send your children to Catholic boarding school”, parents failed by agreeing. When the Church said, “teach your children to trust God and trust the Church as His representative”, the parents failed by doing precisely that. When the Church said, “you can trust us”, the parents failed by believing.

This Pope seems to be arguing the con-man’s defense: “I may have deceived you, but it’s your fault for believing me”.

Perhaps he’s right.

Irish Evangelical Group Supports Civil Partnerships

Jim Burroway

December 8th, 2009

As we reported earlier the Republic of Ireland is considering a Civil Partnership bill which would grant Ireland’s same-sex couples many of the rights and obligations of heterosexual married couples. That law is exptected to pass. Evangelical Alliance Ireland has issued a statement supporting the bill.

You read that right. Even though they give no ground whatsoever on theology, Evangelicals in Ireland are supporting the bill (PDF: 333KB/4 pages):

The Christian Scriptures make it clear that God’s purpose for his gift of sex is that it would be the ultimate physical expression of love tween a man and a woman in the context of the covenant of marriage. However, the Gospel requires us that we show grace to those who fundamentally disagree with our convictions and who do not shape their lives according to what we believe is good for them. Jesus requires of his followers that they love and do good to those who oppose them or who hold to different ethical standards as they do.

The question we face is how followers of Jesus Christ are to live in a society that does not believe as they do and may even oppose principles we hold to, seeing them as out-dated, illiberal and even oppressive.

Some will criticize such a stance as a “cop out.” But the challenge to incarnate and command an alternative way of living as followers of Jesus is no cop out. We face this challenge of showing the power and beauty of marriage as God’s intended context for sex, for the raising of children and for the thriving of society. We face the challenge of showing the strength of friendships, both same gender and opposite gender, that are based on loving as Jesus has loved us. Facing these challenges is no cop out. It is the essence of Christian discipleship.

Irish Evangelicals are fare from unanimous on this. Another group, Aontas (previously known as the Association of Irish Evangelical Churches) criticizes the move.  “Aontas remains opposed to the Civil Partnership Bill because it undermines the status of marriage,” said Paudge Mulvihill, the group’s honorary secretary.

Irish Fianna Fáil Party required to vote for Partnerships

Timothy Kincaid

December 4th, 2009

From Irish Central

Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern refused to allow party colleagues to abstain or vote against a new bill legalizing civil partnerships for gay couples.

He banned the so-called “freedom of conscience” clause for colleagues to defy the government and vote against the bill.

With other minority parties supporting the bill, it is expected to pass.

Partnership Bill introduced in Ireland

Timothy Kincaid

December 3rd, 2009

ireland

A partnership registry in Ireland has been introduced. From Fox News

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said Thursday that the Civil Partnerships Bill would give gay couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples to questions of inheritance, medical care and access to state benefits — and also the same right to demand financial support from wealthier partners when relationships fail.

The bill faces opposition from a minority of lawmakers in the ruling Fianna Fail party. But its passage into law this month appears assured because of strong backing by opposition parties.

Although most couple rights are included, rights relating to children are missing. For those, and other reasons, it is being dismissed by some gay groups as inadequate

Earlier, The National Lesbian and Gay Federation rejected the Bill, and reiterated calls for the immediate introduction of a civil marriage option.

The Union of Students in Ireland says the proposed Bill will offer a number of legal rights to lesbian and gay couples but falls short of offering many of the rights and protections covered by civil marriage.

The USI says the Bill ‘refuses to recognise the existence of same sex families, leaving children of same sex couples vulnerable and unprotected under Irish law’.

USI Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender Rights Officer Laura Finlay said: ‘The implementation of this Civil Partnership Bill will only serve to enshrine in law the second class citizenship of LGBT people in this country.

‘It is wholly unfair and sends out the message that gay people in Ireland are not equal to their heterosexual counterparts.’

A provision allowing marriage would not be possible by means of legislation as most politicians agree that such a law would require national referendum to change to the wording of the constitution. And the government has expressed intention to address some other outstanding issues involving taxation and social welfare.

Civil Partnerships Come to Ireland

Timothy Kincaid

June 26th, 2009

Ireland has finally passed published its Civil Partnership Bill which provides many (but not all) of the rights, priveleges, and responsibilities to same-sex couples. (Reuters) The bill has strong support and is expected to become law.

“This bill provides legal protection for cohabiting couples and is an important step, particularly for same-sex couples, whose relationships have not previously been given legal recognition by the state,” Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said in a statement.

The legislation provides a range of previously denied rights including maintenance obligations, protection of a shared home and succession. “Balance is achieved by maintaining material distinctions between civil partnership and marriage, in particular between the rights attaching to both, while at the same time reflecting the equality rights protected by the constitution,” Ahern said.

The Irish Constitution requires that marriage be given preferential treatment (Irish Times).

The heads of the Bill (giving an outline of the proposed legislation) were first published in late 2007 but progress was slowed by a number of complex issues. One of the issues is believed to have been the potential conflict between the strong rights conferred to marriage in the Constitution and the equality rights protected by Article 40.1.

With Ireland providing recognition, Europe now looks like this:

Green = marriage; Red = civil unions or other recognition

Green = marriage; Red = civil unions or other recognition

Irish Anglicans are United

Timothy Kincaid

July 26th, 2008

According to the Irish Times

Ireland’s 12 Church of Ireland bishops may differ as to whether gay clergy should be consecrated bishops, but each respected the other’s opinion, the Archbishop of Dublin said yesterday.

Considering the turmoil that some parts of the Anglican family have been stirring up, it is good to see a measured spiritual response from this body of believers.

Irish Eyes are Smiling on Gay Couples

Timothy Kincaid

March 31st, 2008

The Irish government is in the process of determining the method it will employ to recognize gay couples. Meanwhile, support for marriage equality has increased in Ireland. Currently,

  • 58% favor allowing marriage in registry offices
  • 26% favor civil partnerships but do not favor marriage
  • 16% do not favor either

Pinknews reports on the expected governmental decision.

The Irish government has ruled out gay marriage, claiming that it would require a change to the country’s constitution and a potentially divisive referendum.

Justice Minister Brian Lenihan is expected to bring forward proposals for a form of civil partnerships at the end of this month.

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