On November 6, four states will be voting for or against allowing same-sex marriage in their state.
If you are 18 or older, live in either Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, or Washington state, and support same-sex marriage, please do your part by registering to vote and voting in favor of equal rights.
If you are underage and/or you do not live in these states, please reblog this so that people can be informed.
Nick Clegg is rejecting claims he was prepared to brand opponents of equal marriage “bigots” at a reception for the LGBT community. In an exclusive interview with PinkNews.co.uk the deputy PM also defended changes to the Government Equalities Office and the new Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
Shortly before yesterday’s address to a large audience consisting of campaigners, politicians and celebrities including Stephen Fry, Hugh Grant and the actor Simon Callow, the Lib Dem leader found himself engulfed in a political row.
It was after aides had to remove comments in the draft version of his speech that called opponents of the government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage “bigots”.
Speaking, at the reception in Carlton Gardens, Westminster, Mr Clegg insisted that he never intended to use such language as it was “not the kind of word” he would use.
Mr Clegg told PinkNews.co.uk that the event was to “mark a really important step towards what I hope will be legislation which will give equal rights to marriage for same-sex couples.
“There has been a land mark, if you like, [the government] has had this public consultation, the deadline has closed…the government is now sifting through 228,000 responses, and we will be making our views known about where we are going to get to next on this by the end of the year.
Mr Clegg added: “My own personal view is of course extremely well known, I am a very staunch advocate of legislation to enshrine equal marriage for all, and that’s very much what I hope we will do.
When asked about last week’s decision to move the Government Equalities Office (GEO) from within the Home Office to the Department for Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), Mr Clegg said:
“This happens from time to time, to be honest there is no hard and fast rule that it should stay in the Home Office…and we all felt the combination of Maria Miller, Helen Grant at the DCMS and the Liberal Democrat Equality Minister Jo Swinson from the Business department would be a very effective team to promote this agenda”.
The decision to hand over responsibility of the GEO to Culture Secretary Maria Miller caused widespread alarm from several equality campaigners due to the Conservative MP’s poor LGBT voting record. In a move designed to reassure the LGBT community Mrs Miller told last weekend’s Sunday Times that she fully supports the government’s position on same-sex marriage.
In a further display of cross-party unity, Mrs Miller attended last night’s reception that was widely seen as a Lib Dem organised event.
When asked if Mrs Miller would find it problematic dealing jointly with media policy and then turning attention to areas such as homophobic crime, Mr Clegg replied:
“I don’t think that is an issue at all. Frankly, whatever department these issues are located in, the fact that people at the top of the government, myself and others, are keen and advocate supporters of this agenda means it won’t fall off anyone’s radar screen no matter which department it’s located in”.
Mr Clegg was also asked about the departure from government of openly gay Conservative ministers Crispin Blunt and Nick Herbert. Mr Clegg rejected suggestions that it was lowering the profile of LGBT political representation and pointed to the cabinet return of gay Lib Dem MP David Laws:
“I don’t think cabinet should be judged exclusively by the number of openly gay cabinet ministers around the table.
Mr Clegg concluded: “I think it is incredibly important that the values of all ministers around the cabinet table are tolerant, liberal and open, and that’s exactly what I think is the centre of gravity around the top of the government”.
You Ya-ting, left, and her partner Huang Mei-yu stamp their names in front of a statue of Buddha in the prayer hall as they are married in the first Taiwan same sex Buddhist ceremonial wedding in Taoyuan, Taiwan
This weekend, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) passed a resolution supporting same-sex marriage and opposing discrimination or the denial of civil rights against any American. Jesse Garcia, LULAC member and co-founder of its first LGBT Council, explained the significance of the resolution:
GARCIA: Today the LULAC National Membership reaffirmed its commitment to equality for all by voting in favor of marriage equality. LULAC stands with great Latino leaders like Dolores Huerta, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis who believe discrimination of same-sex couples should not be tolerated. This is a historic day for LGBT Latin@s everywhere, plus this vote is another bond that reaffirms the partnership between the LGBT and Hispanic communities.
Huerta, as an example, wrote in May that the LGBT community and immigrants are “all in this together.” LULAC joins the National Council of La Raza, which also recently passed a resolution supporting marriage equality.
As one of the oldest organizations advocating for Latin@ rights, LULAC further obliterates conservatives’ efforts to sow divisions between people of color and the LGBT community. Opposing discrimination and supporting equality are values many communities can unite behind.
Denmark’s new laws allowing gay couples to marry in the state church have come into effect today.
The Stefanskirken in Copenhagen draped a rainbow flag over its front and erected a banner reading: “Love knows no gender – congratulations Denmark”.
Danish gay news service Homotropolis said many churches in Copenhagen were planning to release rainbow-coloured balloons after services on Sunday morning in celebration of their new freedom to marry gay couples.
Charlotte Cappi Grunnet, minister in St. Thomas Church in Frederiksberg told Homotropolis: “It is extremely important and wonderful to be able to celebrate that we are finally able to allow same-sex couples to marry in the church.
“The fact that priests have been prevented from carrying out same-sex marriages has been a violation of the Christian belief, of love and of human equality. Until now I have been forced to treat others as if their love was inferior and second class.”
The state Lutheran Church, to which 80 percent of the Danish population belongs, will be able to perform marriage ceremonies under the new laws. New suggested rites were written up by ten of the Church’s eleven bishops in a spirit of “good cooperation”, Bishop Kjeld Holm said.
According to the Copenhagen Post, one of the new prayers for gay couples reads: “Dear God, Heavenly Father. Our lives are in your hand. You follow us through the days and nights. We thank you for the people we share our life with, for every loving glance, in whose light we have matured, and for each meeting: which has opened the world. We ask you, spread your loving sky above us and strengthen us by your grace, so we never hesitate to put our lives in each others’ hands. Amen.”
The bishop of Helsingør, Lise Lotte Rebel, was reported to have said the rites “seem to accentuate the romantic notion of love between people”, turning the focus from God and creating “a major theological problem”.
Gay couples will be able to marry in state churches of their choice but priests will not be obliged to perform weddings. They would, however, need to help the couple find a priest who would marry them at the church under the new laws.
Other faith groups are not compelled to allow gay wedding ceremonies in their places of worship.