Posts Tagged 'same-sex marriage'

Evangelicals Are Winning The Gay Marriage Fight — in Africa and Russia

Photo: Walter AstradaA/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Walter AstradaA/AFP/Getty Images

Repost from National Journal

Long before President Obama selected three gay athletes to lead the American delegation to the Sochi Olympics, long before President Vladimir Putin declared Russia to be the world’s new “moral compass,” and long before practically anyone in the West had even heard of that country’s new “homosexual propaganda” law, one American had thought deeply about it—because he’d helped invent it. “My greatest success, in terms of my own personal strategy, is Russia,” Scott Lively says from his native Massachusetts, where he launched a quixotic bid for governor this year.

Lively, who is being sued in U.S. federal court by a gay-rights group for alleged crimes against humanity over his work fighting “the gay agenda” in Uganda, led a 50-city tour through the former Soviet Union several years ago to warn its citizens about the international gay conspiracy. His message and his proposed solution—to criminalize LGBT advocacy—were received with open arms in town-hall meetings, local legislatures, and St. Petersburg, which sent an open letter to the Russian people and later became one of the first cities in the country to outlaw “homosexual propaganda,” paving the way for the national legislation.

“I was an alcoholic and a drug addict until I got saved in 1986, and since that time my focus has been to restore a biblical focus with regards to marriage and sexuality,” he says. Lively became a lawyer, author, and advocate in pursuit of the cause, but he gave up on the United States almost a decade ago, when one of his cases (challenging an antidiscrimination law)failed. “I began shifting my emphasis, which is going to the other countries in the world that are still culturally conservative to warn them about how the Left has advanced its agenda in the U.S., Canada, and Europe—and to help put barriers in place. And the goal is to build a consensus of moral countries to actually roll back the leftist agenda in my country,” he explains matter-of-factly.

For Lively and the rest of a small but incredibly influential band of American activists who spend their time crisscrossing the globe to meet with foreign lawmakers, deliver speeches, make allies, cut checks, and otherwise foment a backlash against the so-called international gay-rights agenda, this is nothing less than a war for the fate of human civilization. Continue Reading

U.S. Says Visas From Gay Spouses Will Get Equal Treatment

Secretary of State John F. Kerry

Photo: Jason Reed, Reuters

Repost from Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States will immediately begin considering visa applications of gay and lesbian spouses in the same manner as heterosexual couples, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday.

Kerry made the announcement at the U.S. Embassy in London.

“When same-sex couples apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it considers the application of opposite sex spouses,” Kerry said shortly after his arrival in London.

“If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you are the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you are in a country that doesn’t recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world,” he added.

The move comes after the Obama administration urged all U.S. agencies to review their polices after the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down a key part of the federal law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security said its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would begin reviewing petitions filed on behalf of same-sex spouses the same way as those for spouses in heterosexual marriages.

Nigerian Human Rights Defenders, Groups, Individuals, and CSO’s Condemn the Passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill

Nigeria House of Representatives

Nigerian human rights defenders, individuals, and Civil society organizations have condemned the passage of the “Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill” passed in the Nigerian House of Representatives on May 30, 2013. The bill, if approved, proposes a 14 year jail sentence for people who enter into a same-sex “marriage” or “civil union”. This bill also punishes any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations, or directly or indirectly makes a public show of same sex amorous relationship with a term of 10 years imprisonment. The bill also seeks to punish any person or group of persons that witness, screens, shields, aids and abets the solemnization of same sex marriage contract or civil union or supports the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, processions or meetings in Nigeria with 10 years in prison. Watch a video on the passage of the bill.

In opposition to the bill, Nigerian civil society has issued a letter condemning the bill. Continue reading ‘Nigerian Human Rights Defenders, Groups, Individuals, and CSO’s Condemn the Passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Supports Same-sex Marriage

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, continues to champion human rights by supporting same-sex marriage. If you haven’t already heard what she has to say, watch the video below.

Freedom House lists “LGBTI Victories in the Western Hemisphere” as a Best Human Rights Development in 2012

In an article on the Huffington Post website on December 31, Freedom House listed its best and worst human rights developments of 2012. LGBTI victories were listed as a “Best Human Rights Development” and we agree.

There were several important victories in the battle for LGBTI rights in 2012, particularly in the United States and Latin America. A U.S. president voiced public support for gay marriage for the first time, and three states — Washington, Maryland and Maine — passed laws allowing same-sex marriage, bringing the total number of states with such rules to nine. In addition, the first openly gay woman was elected to the U.S. Senate. In Argentina, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010, the Senate passed legislation that allows gender to be legally changed without medical or judicial approval, and includes sex-change surgery and hormone treatment in government health insurance plans. The same month, Chile passed an anti-discrimination law that penalizes all forms of discrimination. Although not specifically written to protect LGTBI rights, the measure was spurred by the brutal killing an openly gay man. Even Cuba has jumped on the bandwagon, electing its first transgender person to municipal office. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Canada and some parts of Mexico. Sadly, for all of the progress seen in this hemisphere, the situation for LGBTI people has actually worsened in much of Eurasia and Africa.

You can see the full list here.

Analysis: The global impact of Obama’s support for gay marriage

President Barack Obama, Supports Gay Marriage

(Pete Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

The president’s decision represents a “next generation” for whom LGBT equality is a given.

May 10, 2012–As an LGBT rights advocate, I have experienced so many proud moments with our president. Our community in the United States can count a number of major achievements during President Obama’s tenure: an inclusive hate crimes law; the repeal of the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; and the hugely important decision that the attorney general will longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

So when the rumors started buzzing yesterday morning that Obama was about to announce his support for marriage equality, it was yet another exciting moment of tangible progress in our country and by our president. When I watched the ABC interview, I was most struck by the weight he gave to his conversations around the dinner table with his daughters, who themselves have friends with lesbian and gay parents. Obama acknowledged that his daughters’ perspectives have helped him evolve: “It wouldn’t even dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently.” Continue reading ‘Analysis: The global impact of Obama’s support for gay marriage’

Marriage Rights Are Spreading Across the Americas: Will the U.S. Supreme Court Take Notice?

by Mark Bromley, Council for Global Equality

Earlier this month, a federal District Court judge in California, in the now-famous case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, ruled that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.  The judge found that Proposition 8, which was adopted by California voters to overturn a state Supreme Court decision and strip same-sex couples of their right to marry, is unconstitutional on both due process and equal protection grounds.  Most legal observers expect the case to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court in a few years.  If it does, the U.S. Supreme Court might just find itself looking to our neighbors to our north and south, and considering two important marriage-related cases decided this week in Mexico and Costa Rica.

The notion that the U.S. Supreme Court might take stock of this shifting landscape in our hemisphere is not as surprising as it might sound.  In the most important LGBT case ever decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas that overturned earlier Supreme Court precedent to strike down a homosexual sodomy law in Texas, Justice Kennedy, writing for the Court majority, looked to the “values we share with a wider civilization” to help decide the case.  He noted that other nations had already strongly affirmed “the protected right of homosexual adults to engage in intimate, consensual conduct.”  He cited a leading human rights case decided more than 20 years earlier in Europe, and a string of subsequent European cases, before concluding that there was no particular reason to believe that in our own country, “the governmental interest in circumscribing personal choice is somehow more legitimate or urgent.”  He concluded, instead, that LGBT Americans are entitled to private lives, and that “the State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.”  Perhaps Justice Kennedy, or one of his colleagues, writing the majority opinion when the Perry case finally lands on the Court’s door, will cite this time to a string of cases from our neighbors in North and South America.

Canada, the first country in the hemisphere to recognize same-sex marriage for its citizens—and for non-citizens like me who traveled there to get married—did so based on a 2004 case in the Supreme Court of Canada and a 2005 Civil Marriage Act.  Argentina, the second country in our hemisphere to legalize same-sex marriage, did so this July by an act of congress.  And just this week, two cases were decided, one in Mexico and one in Costa Rica, that lend unique perspective to the Perry decision and its future consideration in the Supreme Court.

In December of last year, Mexico City legalized same-sex marriages for its federal district.  This week, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that all other states in Mexico must recognize the marriages performed in Mexico City.  The 31 states in Mexico need not perform same-sex marriages in their own state, but they must recognize the marriages performed in Mexico City.  The New York Times quotes Justice Arturo Zaldívar as asking what happens to a same-sex couples that goes to another state.  “Does this marriage disappear? They go on vacation and they’re no longer married?”  That’s an equally good question for our Supreme Court to ask in the Perry case, and in a related set of same-sex marriage cases that are also working their way through the federal courts in Massachusetts.

Also this week, the Constitutional Court in Costa Rica blocked a referendum scheduled for December that would have allowed the citizens of Costa Rica to decide whether same-sex civil unions should be allowed in their country.  The Costa Rican Court, in a 5-2 decision, said that the rights of minorities should not be subject to majority vote by referendum, thereby throwing the decision back to the legislature.  While the case was about civil unions and not marriage, that basic logic animates the decision in the Perry case and will surely be an important focus in any Supreme Court inquiry.

The road to our Supreme Court is long and the decision in the Perry case is uncertain, but if Justice Kennedy, who is considered an important swing vote, looks once again to the “values we share with a wider civilization,” he will surely see that the long arc of the moral universe is bending toward marriage equality across our hemisphere and beyond.  One can only hope that this will be as apparent to Justice Kennedy as it is to so many of us in the LGBT community.


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