Marriage goes to the Queen
July 16th, 2013
Jim already put up the story, but I love the fireworks pictures.
UK Lords pass marriage equality
July 15th, 2013
The upper, unelected chamber approved the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill without a vote in London today. Some members of the house wore pink carnations to mark the occasion.
The legislation has already been passed by the Commons amid opposition from more than 100 lawmakers from Cameron’s Conservative Party. The bill will now return to the Commons, where amendments introduced by the Lords will be considered. If they’re accepted, the bill will be sent to Queen Elizabeth II for her signature before becoming law.
Lord Jenkin’s theology
June 6th, 2013
Sometimes you read something that simply must be shared.
Patrick Jenkin is a rather accomplished man from a distinguished family. He served in several positions in the Thatcher Cabinet and has been Baron Jenkin of Roding since 1987.
In the debate in the House of Lords over marriage equality, Lord Jenkin said the following: (PinkNews)
Finally, I return to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester. I hope that he will not feel it is unfair if I call him my “old friend”, as indeed he is. I have come to the firm conclusion that there is nothing to fear in gay marriage and that, indeed, it will be a positive good not just for same-gender unions but for the institution of marriage generally. The effect will be to put right at the centre of marriage the concept of a stable, loving relationship. As a practising Christian, perhaps I may make the point to the Bishops’ Benches, including to the most reverend Primate, that there is every reason why, in time, the Anglican Church should come to accept that, although I recognise that it may take some time. The character of love which marriage reflects—that it is faithful, stable, tough, unselfish and unconditional—is the same character that most Christians see in the love of God. Marriage is therefore holy, not because it is ordained by God, but because it reflects that most important central truth of our religion: the love of God for all of us.
This is a very compelling argument for those who value their faith as something more than a mask for their prejudices.
Marriage advances in House of Lords
June 4th, 2013
By jove, they did it! (telegraph)
After two days of intense debate, peers supported gay marriage by a margin of more than two to one.
There will now be a series of other votes but the clear signal from the proceedings was that the legislation will now pass into law.
The Lords, however, were still a bit concerned.
In a bid to appease religious leaders critical of the Bill, Baroness Stowell, the deputy Tory chief whip in the House of Lords, said that ministers will now consider changes to the legislation to offer churches further protection if they refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.
It would appear that the quadruple lock is deemed insufficient. Therefore Stowell is contriving and quintuple lock. Should anyone dare even suggest that a church which has not opted in be frowned at for refusing to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies, they will be sent directly to Azkaban.
House of Commons officially passes marriage equality
May 21st, 2013
The House of Commons has now passed the third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by a vote of 366 to 161.
Altogether 133 Tories opposed the bill, along with 15 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, eight Democratic Unionists and an independent.
So even after all the hand-wringing and fury about Prime Minister Cameron “betraying” the Conservative Party, less than half of the Tories voted in opposition to the bill.
Now it moves to the House of Lords. Expect some rather wacky statements.
Northern Ireland narrowly rejects equality
April 29th, 2013
Northern Ireland leaders in the Assembly have narrowly voted against same-sex marriage today (29 April).
Out of the 97 members of the legislative assembly, 47 voted in favor while 51 voted against.
That’s a lot closer than I would have projected. And as Ireland changes its constitution to include equality and as the rest of the United Kingdom enacts civil marriage, soon Northern Ireland will feel the discomfort of fitting nowhere.
British Parliament votes for marriage (second reading)
February 5th, 2013
By an overwhelming majority, the British House of Commons passed a bill that legalizes gay marriage. The bill is expected to become law because it is supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.The House passed the bill with a vote of 400 to 175.
After a weekend of threats of revolt from conservative Tories and whining from church leaders, Parliament has soundly supported the change.
Now the bill goes to committee, a third reading, and the House of Lords.
For a recap of the drama: the Times.
“but, but, but we didn’t mean that we wanted you to BAN us from conducting gay weddings”
December 14th, 2012
Oh what a funny funny state the world is in.
For example, over in the UK, marriage is on the table. And the Anglican Church was wrought up about the sanctity of penis and vagina or some such thing. And how dare, how very dare the government to hint that anything other than penis and vagina could be linked in holy hoohaw.
So the government came of with the perfect solution. They would protect the Anglican Churches with a lock, no a double, scratch that, the government would protect the Anglicans with a “quadruple lock”. They would say that while other churches could opt-in and offer marriage if they so wanted, Anglican churches can’t. Even if William and Kate’s little bundle of joy grows up to be a charming young man who trots off to St. Andrews and falls in love with the Earl of Pudding.
So now they are all in a dither. You see, they didn’t want restrictions on themselves so much. They really just wanted the government to tell the Quakers and Jews what not to do. (Scotsman)
Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan said that the move to outlaw gay marriage in the Church of England and Church in Wales came as a “total shock” when it was announced by equalities minister Maria Miller on Tuesday as part of a “quadruple lock” to protect them from legal challenge.
Dr Morgan said that his church did not want the protection, which has put it in an “enormously difficult position”.
Is the Telegraph’s John Bingham a lying scoundrel or a blithering idiot?
June 8th, 2012
John Bingham, the Social and Religious Affairs Editor on the Daily Telegraph, is either shamelessly lying in promotion of his opposition to equality in Britain or he is the biggest dunce to ever grace the pages of that newspaper. Bingham, without a moment’s hesitation repeated the “conclusions” of a “poll of homosexual people” paid for by Catholic Voices in order to bolster their claim that civil partnerships are enough and that the nation should not allow gay people equality.
The first poll of its kind in Britain also found that only a minority of gay people believe redefining marriage should be a “priority” and only half said that having the opportunity to marry was important to them personally.
By now our readers are well familiar with the difference between a poll that seeks to find out how the populace feels about a subject and a “poll” which uses loaded language, confusing questions, and a series of statements and prior questions in order to get a completely false and unrepresentative “conclusion” that can be used deceptively for public relations purposes. Clearly, Bingham is not a reader.
ComRes does not easily provide the methods used for sampling. The one item we do know is that their survey of “homosexual people” excluded “heterosexuals” and “refuse to answer” but includes the categories “gay/lesbian” and “bisexual” and “other” (ah, good old “other”). And considering that this is a candidate for (if not the very) worst example of a loaded poll that I’ve reviewed, I think it is far more likely than not that it too was rigged. [Update: it was an "online survey", a polling method a step or two higher than "asking my friends and family"]
Here were the questions. Yes, you will laugh. Yes, you will find yourself muttering, “God, Bingham is a dunce not to see through this!”
- Does each of the following apply to you or not?
- I am in a Civil Partnership
- I am not in a Civil Partnership but would seriously consider it
- I do not ever intend to be in a Civil Partnership
- I would get married to my partner if the law permitted it
Each category allows for “applies”, “does not apply”, and “don’t know”. So a person in a Civil Partnership might answer yes or no to marriage, but the deliberately ambiguous language encourages a “doesn’t apply” response from those who strongly support marriage, but are currently partnerless.
- Does each of the following apply to you or not?
- I am against marriage as an institution
- I support marriage as an institution but only between a man and a woman
- It is important to me that marriage is extended to same-sex couples
- Insisting that Civil Partnership and marriage remain separate and distinct worsens public attitudes towards gay people
Again, it encourages those who oppose marriage as an institution to say that it is unimportant that marriage be extended to same-sex couples – a number that the Catholic Deceivers wanted to be as low as possible.
But now on to the question that qualifies this as a serious contender for “worst poll ever”. I mean even Maggie Gallagher wouldn’t put out this poll – and that’s really saying something.
- Do you agree or disagree with these statements?
- David Cameron is only trying to extend marriage to LGBT people to make his Party look more compassionate rather than because of his convictions
- Generally speaking the best environment for children is to be raised by their own father and mother in a loving relationship
- Marriage is more about love between two people than it is about rearing and raising children
- I think redefining marriage is a priority for gay people
- True marriage equality would mean that same-sex couples could marry in places of worship as well as in civil locations
- Faith groups should be forced to allow gay weddings in places of worship
- There is no need to change the law on marriage because Civil Partnerships give all the same rights as marriage
How do you even answer this bullsh!t? Now do you think that “redefining marriage” is a “priority” for gay people? I don’t, so I would “disagree”. But then again I’ve never met a gay person who wanted to redefine marriage at all, though I know plenty who very much want to join the institution just as it is – except without discriminatory entrance requirements.
But absent a question that actually makes sense and reflects the views of the people being questioned, 39% “agreed”. I don’t even know what that means. But John Bingham thinks it means something so he parroted what the Catholic Deceivers fed him.
And look at the loaded “Faith groups should be forced to allow gay weddings in places of worship”. Obviously “forced” is thrown in there to make martyrs of the Catholic Deceivers. Say “no” to forcing and you don’t support marriage. Say “yes” to forcing and you hate religion and are tying to impose your will on people of faith.
But even beyond that, it’s vague and meaningless. Does that mean their places of worship? I would say, “no, Catholics should not be forced to allow gay weddings in Catholic Churches.” But that isn’t the issue in Britain. Rather, Catholics are trying to deny gay people the ability to marry in any places of worship, even those who are petitioning the government to allow them the religious freedom of conducting marriages in their own churches. So I could say “yes, Catholics should not be allowed to block gay weddings in churches that are none of their business”.
And after all of that confusion and nonsense and deception and intentionally vague wording, we come to the question that they are trying to drive: Do you agree or disagree that “There is no need to change the law on marriage because Civil Partnerships give all the same rights as marriage.”
Huh? I’m hearing double negatives so could you repeat the question?
And joy of all joys, they got 26% of respondents to say that they agreed. Yeah, mostly older and mostly rural, but hey they managed to get some positive response to that.
Which brings them to what they surely saw as the icing on the cake. Get ready to laugh. This is the question that would have led any responsible newspaper to say, “I’m sorry, we don’t print bullsh!t here.”
- Do you agree or disagree with these statements?
- I’m glad I was raised by both a mother and a father because it means I can relate to both sexes
Really? Could they be more obvious? And what on earth does that have to do with the decision to support marriage rather than civil partnerships?
Okay, at least they didn’t follow it up with, “And why do you hate your Mum and Dad?” But to the credit of British gays, only 37% fell to the temptation to support Mum and Dad. So that question slipped out of the article somehow.
But while championing the completely bogus numbers in this completely bogus poll would have been dishonest, they went for the big lie. And having the mental competency of the average church mouse (or having not one smidgen of personal integrity), Bingham went along for the ride.
Looking at results for this ludicrous nonsense, Bingham announces
The poll suggests that support for changing the law to redefine marriage among the homosexual community could be more lukewarm than previously thought.
Or it suggests that Catholic Deceivers are a bunch or liars and you are a complete fool. I’m betting on the latter.
Welcome back proposal
April 27th, 2012
A few days ago Pendleton
Air Force Marine Base in San Diego was the site of another first (LGBT Weekly):
Finally, luggage in tow, Guerrero emerged with a smile on his face. Upon seeing Huston, Guerrero dropped his bags; aimed a kiss toward Huston’s lips; and opened his arms to his boyfriends waiting embrace. The time and distance of 10 months’ separation evaporated in a public show of affection that less than a year ago would have been cause for court martial. After a few minutes of emotional holding and kissing, Huston went anxiously down on one knee; looked up at Guerrero, who was dressed from head to toe in military fatigues; and produced an engagement ring and the time-honored phrase, “Will you marry me?”
Huston’s mild tremble, a result of hours and days of anticipation about this day, was quickly quieted by the one word every hopeful fiancé wants to hear: “Yes.”
Meanwhile, across the pond, the Brits are debating whether to adopt Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to replace civil unions with full legal equality for same-sex couples. This ad is one piece in the campaign. (tissue warning)
UK lifts blood ban
November 7th, 2011
As in the United States and much of the world, in the 1980′s the United Kingdom implemented a ban on blood donations by gay men. The UK Department of Health has now revised the ban to reflect the changes in blood analysis and knowledge about HIV that have occurred since that time. (herald)
.. following a review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (Sabto), men who have not had homosexual sex within a year will be able to donate if they meet certain other criteria. The move will be implemented in England, Scotland and Wales.
Men who have had anal or oral sex with another man in the past 12 months, with or without a condom, will still not be eligible to donate blood, the DoH said. They said this was to reduce the risk of infections being missed by testing and then being passed on to a patient.
Health officials agree that this policy change will not measurably increase risk of HIV contaminated blood.
However, over the objections of the Red Cross and other health officials, the United States continues to base its blood donation policies on fear and prejudice rather than science.
October 5th, 2011
In our era of identity politics in which positions are often based less on principle than on who else believes it, I find myself marveling at the contortions that folks go through to justify their views. Small government libertarians who find justification for federal intervention into state marriage policy, civil rights activists who argue for excluding rights based on attributes, advocates for religious freedom who propose imposing their moral code on others, champions of tolerance who berate those who dare be of a differing political identity, foes of racism, sexism, and heterosexism who hold conferences with strict race-, sex-, and orientation-based criteria for participation, and defenders of diversity who only know people identical to themselves in all possible relevant ways.
But perhaps the most ironic (and entrenched) identity-based paradox is that of conservative traditionalists who oppose gay marriage. Of all possible expectations that a society can place on its gay citizens (other than the flippant “don’t be gay”), nothing is more traditional or conservative than marriage. Marriage is conformist, often religious, steeped in expectation, bound by socially enforced rules, and – as conservatives are quick to remind us – the bedrock of society, the most basic form of social unit, and an inculcator of values, traditions, and notions about family. Marriage is the smallest of small government. It is the place where a balanced budget is unquestioned, where “spend less” is a shared goal, where “family values” is literal and the only “special rights” are the ones you choose. In a logical world, conservatives would not only support gay marriage, they’d insist on it.
Absent the peculiarities of Social War alliances and doctrinal demands, the natural response of the conservative would be, “Stop all this running around and grow up already. Find someone decent, settle down, get married, and start contributing to society for once, you hippie!” Okay, maybe not the hippie reference, but you know what I mean.
As does the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, David Cameron.
“I once stood before a Conservative conference and said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man,” he said.
“You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.
“So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”
A man and a man on Mann
March 15th, 2011
Congrats to the residents of the Isle of Man. (BBC)
Gay couples on the Isle of Man will get the right to a civil partnership after a new law was signed in Tynwald, the island’s parliament.
It gives them the same rights as married couples regarding inheritance, pensions and tax allowances.
Which brings the British Crown Dependency into alignment with the UK.
Britain cracks down on freedom of speech
January 27th, 2011
Two men in the UK are being prosecuted for distributing leaflets that violate the law forbidding the incitement hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. (Independent)
The men charged were named last night as Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27. They are accused of handing out a leaflet entitled “The Death Penalty?” in Derby.
The leaflets, which were also pushed through letterboxes, are understood to have called for homosexuals to be executed.
What does this accomplish? Who wins when speech is stifled? Certainly not our community, who now appear to be intolerant of religious view. Certainly not Muslims, who now are cast as murderous. Certainly not people of good will, who now have to take sides and play the which-minority-do-we-support game.
I think it far wiser to allow haters to say outrageous things and then use that as an opportunity for dialogue and interaction. Give Muslim clerics in the UK the opportunity to side with the gay community through public discourse, rather than force them to take a ‘religious freedom’ position that calls for the death penalty.
I know that other cultures have other values, but I am glad that the US values freedom of speech over freedom not to be insulted.
Commons Deputy Speaker comes out
December 19th, 2010
Nigel Evans, the Deputy Speaker of the Commons, has had a less than stellar history on gay-supportive legislation. His past has included voting for Section 28, legislation that banned affirmative discussion of homosexuality in schools, though in recent years he has been supportive of the community.
Now he is announcing what has long been an open secret, he is gay. Further, he is helping found a gay caucus within parliament. (mailonline)
The Deputy Speaker of the Commons is to come out as gay tomorrow to mark the launch of a Parliamentary group that will help MPs and staff be open about their homosexuality.
Senior Tory MP Nigel Evans, who deputises for Speaker John Bercow, says he is ‘tired of living a lie’ and has received threats of blackmail in the past from political enemies.
In what is perhaps an ironic turn, of the 22 out parliamentarians, 13 are Tories, the conservative party. (Though I rather suspect that if truth were known, Republicans might have a similar ratio in the US). His party leadership is fully behind his decision to come forward. The Tories have made a concerted effort to distance themselves from old anti-gay positions and to adopt a pro-gay image and platform.
In addition to response to a new openness within the Tories, there is also speculation that Evans’ announcement serves as “clearing the air” for a potential run at Speaker of the Commons.
Papa Ratzi protested in London
September 20th, 2010
With a crowd of around 11,000 for Saturday’s protest, the protest drew upon a wide base of discontent with the current pontiff. (Telegraph)
Among the marchers were a wide range of groups, including gay and lesbian Catholics, child abuse survivors, atheists and anti poverty campaigners. Organisers said the turnout was five times greater than expected.
Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner, criticised the Pope for obstructing police investigations into paedophile priests.
He said: “The Pope’s apologies do not ring true. Even today he is refusing to hand over Vatican files he holds under lock and key. Priests who sexually abused children should be brought to justice and the church should do its bit.”
Calu Lema, a Columbian-born graphic designer who works in London, said that, as “a tax paying lesbian”, she opposed the state visit.
She said: “The Pope has a right to come here and people have a right to come and hear him.
“But why should I, as a lesbian taxpayer, pay for his state visit when he is opposed to women’s rights to contraception, opposed to gays and gay marriage and opposed to human rights?
“I respect the rights of Catholics to their faith, but they should respect my rights.”
Of course others were supportive of the Pope.
“We’ve also seen his warmth with people, such as the children he’s picked up and kissed. That’s changed people’s view of the Pope.”
The logical (dangerous, nonsensical) conclusion of careless reporting on HIV
September 10th, 2010
As I noted earlier this week, the story of an HIV study out of Ghent, Belgium, has been reported in a very irresponsible manner. Now the conservative Christian zealots in the UK have latched onto the story and repeated it in a way that is so far from the original as to be laughable (if it wasn’t disgusting and dangerous).
Running the headline Young homosexual men are fuelling HIV in Europe, the Christian Institute has declared the following:
Men who have sex with other men are fuelling HIV infections in Europe, according to a new report supported by the UK’s largest sexual health charity.
The study noted that “unprotected sex between men” is often reported as the main transmission route for the virus. However, the study itself examined all homosexual contact and did not distinguish between protected or unprotected sex.
Medical experts note that anal intercourse is, by its nature, the most risky form of sexual activity.
This deliberate attempt to distort the science to suggest that there is no risk difference between safer-sex and unprotected sex is immoral and reprehensible. This is the exact opposite of the intention of the research and efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
I don’t know how “Christian” these monsters are (they certainly seem to be outside the mainstream in the UK) but I’m sure their god has a very special place for them in the afterlife (and perhaps they should invest in asbestos jumpsuits).
Tatchell applauded at UK Christian festival
August 30th, 2010
Peter Tatchell has been an untiring and unflinching advocate for international gay rights. His willingness to be arrested, harassed, and beaten has given him the credibility to command attention. And Tatchell has a character trait that sets leaders apart: the ability to find commonality where others might only see enmity.
Tatchell, who has long since abandoned his Christianity, may seem like an odd choice to speak at Greenbelt, one of Britain’s largest Christian festivals. But finding “more in common than divides us”, he went to harness the power of faith to do good in the world.
Tatchell was harshly critical of Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, whom he accused of colluding with the persecution of GLBT people by the Anglican Church in Africa and of “conservative evangelical groups from the USA” who went to Uganda to argue that the country’s biggest problem is “not poverty, not corruption, not human rights abuses, not rigged elections” but homosexuality.”
But he also found Christians to praise and to hold up as an example. (Ekklesia)
He was keen to make a distinction between Christians who oppose homosexuality and those who encourage persecution. “It’s one thing to say that homosexuality is wrong, and people are entitled to that belief,” he said, “What they’re not entitled to do is to say that the law of the land should discriminate”.
But Tatchell was quick to praise Christians who have stood up against such attitudes. He singled out South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ugandan Bishop Christoper Senjyonjo, who has “paid a very, very heavy price” and been denied his pension.
He also spoke passionately of LGBT African Christians, including Davis Mac-Iyalla and Jide Macauley, who have risked their lives by being open about their sexuality.
“For all of those, gay and straight, who do take a stand, I salute you, I thank you,” he concluded.
Tatchell received a standing ovation.
Civil Unions signed in Ireland
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.
UK civil unions may edge closer to marriage
July 4th, 2010
The distinctions between civil partnerships and marriages in the UK are peculiar to American notions of religious liberty and freedoms of speech. And one of them may soon disappear. (AP)
Britain’s government is considering letting same-sex couples include religious elements in civil partnership ceremonies.
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone says the government’s review of gay equality rights will consider allowing homosexual couples to include hymn singing and religious readings in their union ceremonies.
Parliament recently removed the ban on same-sex unions in churches and other places of worship.
Yes, you soon may gain permission to sing hymns of rejoice to God (though, oddly enough, some religious ministers object to that).
However, this change could result in an oddity which challenges the distincions between all civil and religious recognition and some think the new conservative government may take a different step. (Times)
Mr Bryant said he believes the Government will eventually have to allow full homosexual marriage rather than creating the unusual situation under which same-sex couples can have religious language in their civil partnerships, but heterosexuals cannot in civil marriage.
During the election campaign, the Conservatives were the only main party to suggest that they would consider allowing full homosexual marriage, a move that although contentious would be easier to legislate for than altering existing laws on civil partnership and civil marriage.