Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29, a Big Pride Day in Europe... except in Russia

London Pride Parade...
the next country to legalize gay marriage?

Paris Gay Pride March...
500.000 proud after legalizing gay marriage

Dublin Pride Parade...
Referendum on gay marriage in 2014

St. Petersburg Gay Pride Parade... 
beaten and arrested for marching

Friday, June 28, 2013

Is It Time for Australia?

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said today he wants a vote in Australian parliament to legalize same-sex marriage, just months before an election. He believes all MPs should be allowed a conscience vote on the legalisation of marriage equality.

Rudd wants Australia to join neighboring New Zealand and a dozen other countries in the world that have already granted same-sex couples the right to marry.

"I am now the first prime minister of Australia who is a fully signed-up supporter of marriage equality", he said. "I would like to see this done. This causes so many people unnecessary angst out in Australia in the gay and lesbian community", he added.

Rudd was sworn in Thursday as prime minister a day after he ousted rival Julia Gillard (an opponent of gay marriage) in a ballot that returned him to lead the Labor party and the government. 

Curiously, Rudd opposed gay marriage during his first term as prime minister some years ago, but now tells he has changed his mind after discussions with several people including his daughter Jessica. 

The fact is polls show a majority of Australians now support gay marriage. 

Maybe it's finally time for Australia...

Remember It's Time Australian campaign

Celebrations across the U.S. for the Supreme Court Rulings on Equality

In a major victory for LGBT rights, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down DOMA, the federal law which denied benefits to married gay couples, and it cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

In the case of the federal DOMA, the ruling will immediately extend many benefits to couples married in the states that allow such unions, and it will allow the Obama administration to broaden other benefits through executive actions. In the other case, California's Proposition 8, in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in that state (don't forget it's the U.S.’s most populous state), the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.

You can read the full DOMA ruling here, and the full Proposition 8 ruling here.

After announcing Court's rules, a lot of celebrations took place across all American states because it has been a big victory to equality for LGBT people in the U.S.

Of course in Washington, in the same Court's steps:

In San Francisco too, where same-sex marriage will be legal again:

And also in NYC, at the famous Stonewall Inn:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Father Tiger New Music Video

You should watch the last music video of Father Tiger titled "First Love", directed by Michael Medico, to celebrate marriage equality.

They told it was a blast to shoot and has an amazing twist ending all for a good cause.

Besides, a portion of this song's iTunes proceeds will be donated to fight for marriage equality, You can download the track on iTunes here.

Father Tiger is on facebook.

Amnesty International Warns on Rising Levels of Homophobia in Africa

President Barack Obama began Wednesday June 26, a 8-day tour in Africa to visit South Africa, Tanzania and Senegal.

Just this week, Amnesty International (AI) has published a new report titled Making Love a Crime: Criminalization of same-sex conduct in sub-Saharan Africa, warning about homophobic attacks and harassment across sub-Saharan Africa are becoming more visible, indicating that homophobia is reaching dangerous levels.

In addition, "homosexual acts" are being increasingly criminalized across Africa as a number of governments seek to impose draconian penalties or broaden the scope of existing laws, including by introducing the death penalty. A total of 38 African countries criminalize homosexuality.

The report reviews the current state of legal provisions across the continent and how these laws adversely affect LGBT African people. Individuals interviewed by AI spoke of their daily struggle to survive discrimination and threats. The report contains specific cases from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Cameroon. Also remember the situation of Nigeria that I posted few days ago.

"It is time that African states stopped demonizing individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Human rights are about the dignity and equality of all people", said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at AI.

I am  hopeful the president will deal with rights for LGBT people when he visits the three African countries.

Treatment to LGBT people is increasingly hostile in Africa 

Gay protest in South Africa

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Historic Decision of the U.S. Suprem Court in Favor of Marriage Equality

As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court has announced its opinion on two key equal marriage cases today June 26, the last day of the court's session to release both opinions.

On the first case, the Court pronounced around California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state. The Justices have decided, by a very close 5-4 vote, to remove the ban and allow same-sex marriage in California. 

"We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to", Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. "We decline to do so for the first time here".

On the second case, the Court pronounced around DOMA, the Act which denies federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples legally married in some American states (remember the story of David & Jason). With a narrow majority, 5-4, the Justices have struck it down.

"The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity", Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment".

With both decisions, the Supreme Court effectively allowing equal marriage across the U.S. However, that gay marriage can be legal or not still depends on each state.

Really a historic day in the U.S!!!

The nine Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court

The successful HUMAN RIGHTS Campaign

The successful NOH8 Campaign

U.S. Supreme Court: the Day Has Come!

After announcing tuesday's rulings, Chief Justice John Roberts told that all the remaining opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court will be released this Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The Supreme Court has yet to decide Hollingsworth v. Perry, challenging California's gay marriage ban (Proposition 8); and United States v. Windsor, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

After numerous days of non-decisions in the both cases, the court has added Wednesday as a final day for this term. Then, the Supreme Court is expected to announce the two opinions this Wednesday, at 10 a.m., the last day of the court's session before it recesses for the summer.

There are a number of possible outcomes, which range from effectively allowing equal marriage across the U.S., to letting Proposition 8 and DOMA stand.

Wednesday June 26, the day has come!

The nine Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let's Fall in Love... Without Fear

Palermo Pride 2013 began with a tribute to the Neapolitan director Pappi Corsicato, with the projection, during the opening conference, of the short video called: "Let's fall in love".

The motto of this video is "To live without fear your own feelings should be a right for everybody".

Thanks Sean for sharing it!

It's Time Scotland!

Equality Network launches a Scotland’s Equal Marriage video campaign called It's Time. The campaign aims to help build momentum for a change in the law as Members of the Scottish Parliament decide how they will vote on Scotland’s equal marriage legislation. 

The video campaign features leading Scottish celebrities, politicians, religious ministers, and ordinary couples from across the country, voicing their support for Equal Marriage and declaring that in 2013 It’s Time for LGBT people in Scotland to have equal rights.

Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, has said: "We’re proud of the It’s Time video campaign, which demonstrates the breadth of support that exists for equal marriage in Scotland, and reflects the values of equality and compassion that have always been at the heart of our society. Thirty-three years ago Scotland finally decriminalised homosexuality now, in 2013, its well-and-truly time that LGBT people were granted full equality under the law. We hope that in the coming months MSPs will vote by a clear majority to give same-sex couples an equal right to celebrate their love and, in doing so, they will send out a strong message to the world about the kind of fair and progressive country we want Scotland to be".

Remember that the regulation of same-sex marriage is a matter of Scottish Assembly because the UK has devolved justice powers to Scotland.

Brian Cox, actor 

 Sharleen Spiteri, singer of Texas

Also religious ministers from several churches

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland

Watch the video

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ireland: Referendum on Gay Marriage in 2014

Last May, I posted that Ireland could be closer to allow same-sex marriage because the Irish Constitution Convention voted in favor of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples and proposed to amend the Constitution of Ireland.

Yesterday Eamon Gilmore, the Tánaiste of Ireland (deputy prime minister), has affirmed the referendum on gay marriage probably will be next year.

The Tánaiste has been asked about this topic during a question-and-answer session at an event organised by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN).

Gilmore has answered: "The commitment we have given is that once the Constitutional Convention presents its report in respect of the part of the Constitutional Convention dealing with same-sex marriage, that report is going to be tabled I think this month, formally tabled. There is then a four-month period for the Government to consider the report of the Constitutional Convention".

He has also added: "We have committed that we will make a decision within that four-month period on what would be our response to the Constitutional Convention. Then in the case of a referendum on same-sex marriage, it would then be an issue of when that takes place after that".

And finally he has affirmed: "I suppose realistically we're probably looking at next year sometime".

Eamon Gilmore, the Tánaiste of Ireland