Tag Archives: Marriage Equality

Love Wins | US Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Will Become Permanent Tomorrow

From tomorrow, the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage becomes permanent cross the USA – as the window to overturn it expires.

Last month, America highest court in the US ruled in Obergefell vs Hodges that equal marriage is a constitutional right, and that all 50 states must both recognise and perform same-sex marriages.


Desperate anti-gay activists have called for the ruling to be thrown out and the case to be re-heard, because two liberal justices on the court had already performed gay weddings.

However, from tomorrow even that course of action will be closed to them – as the 25-day window in which a Supreme Court ruling can be challenged expires.

Californians React To Supreme Court Rulings On Prop 8 And DOMA

This means that the ruling is permanent – and there is almost nothing opponents can do to change it, short of radically amending the Constitution.


Taiwan Looks to be The First Asian Country to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Taiwan’s government’s plans to draft a “same-sex partnership” law, which would make Taiwan the first region in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalisation of same-sex marriage last month, the authorities in Taiwan have announced that they have decided to draft a same-sex partnership law to mirror with the global trend and keep up with the public’s changing opinion regarding the subject.


Lo Ying-hsueh – head of Taiwan’s judicial body – said the government will put proposed bills regarding same-sex marriage online, allowing the public to vote on them freely.

The results of these votes would then serve as a guide to the government when they make changes to legislature, the Global Times reports.

Last year, an online poll revealed that 68% of the population supported same-sex marriage.


Taiwan’s LGBT community have been campaigning for same-sex unions for years – last week, thousands of supporters flooded the streets of Taipei in a bid to urge the government to change the country’s stance on gay marriage.

And although many welcome a law aimed at giving homosexuals legal protection, some activists have questioned why the government’s decision to draft a completely new law, rather than make amendments to the current marriage law.

Chen Ling – a lesbian as well as gay rights activist – argued

The fact that the government decided to set a new same-sex partnership law discriminates against homosexuals and it shows that homosexual couples are different from heterosexuals.”

Also read: Lesbian Couple in Taiwan Fight Court Over Adoption Rights

However, politicians from the country’s main parties have attempted to quash rumours that the change is simply an attempt to gain votes in the upcoming election and promised that the proposed changes will only strengthen the LGBT community’s place in Taiwanese society.


Hong Chih-kun, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s central executive committee said

Taiwan’s gay movement has been active for at least 10 years and many polls show that Taiwan society is mature enough to accept gay marriage.”

DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said gay marriage reflects equality and upholds human rights, while Hung Hsiu-chu, Kuomintang’s head, also said she maintains an “open and optimistic” attitude toward homosexuality.

The marriage equality bill – which would legalise same-sex marriage and allow married gay couples to adopt children – was reviewed for the first time at the Judiciary Committee in December last year, after the DPP described current laws as discriminatory and unfair.

However, the discussion was put on hold, due to opposition from conservative Christian groups who have formed a network to organise rallies and petition signature collections to lobby against marriage equality.

German Chancellor Says Same-Sex Couples Should Not be Allowed to call Their Unions ‘Marriage’

In an online interview with German Youtube star Florian Mundt, alias LeFloid, as part of the ‘Gut Leben’ (good living) campaign, German chancellor Angela Merkel has said while same-sex couples should get marital benefits; a civil partnership should not be called marriage.

Merkel said she didn’t oppose same-sex marriage, but would wish to be call it something else.

I’m someone who is very supportive of us eliminating all discrimination,’ Merkel said when asked for her personal stance on marriage equality.

We have come a long way; when I remember, 25 years ago, many people didn’t dare to say that they are gay or lesbian. Luckily we overcame this; you can enter a partnership, a civil partnership.”

In June, members of Merkel’s Christian Democratic party sent an open letter claiming marriage equality would see the institution of marriage lost.

Also read: Angela Merkel Rejects Same-Sex Marriage in Germany


For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together. That is my concept, but I support civil partnerships. I support us not discriminating against them when it comes to taxes, and to remove any other discrimination wherever we may find it.”

Mundt accused Merkel of quibbling and wanting to keep marriage between same-sex and traditional couples separate, although it would be the same on paper.

He said

For me, there is still a difference. It’s not the same, but they [same-sex couples] want the same. Everything else is an exclusion for me.”

The chancellor claimed people had to accept different opinions on the matter – including herself, as the opinions in her party as well as in the German government differ, but ‘you’ll have to endure that for a while.’

I don’t want discrimination and [I want] equality, but I make a difference at some point.”

Her interviewer countered quickly:

So you could say: no to discrimination, but we’ll keep differentiating between the two.”

Merkel responded

No discrimination, Marriage as a man and a woman living together.”

Watch the full interview here:

Japan’s LGBT Community Launch Bid for the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the Country

455 members of the LGBT community in Japan, including 142 same-sex couples, have filed an unprecedented petition to the government requesting the recognition of same-sex marriage across the country.

In the petition they argue that denying them marriage is against their human rights. It has now been submitted to the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), argues that Japan is in violation of human rights and therefore its constitution by not permitting same-sex marriages, The Japan Times reported.

At a press conference one of the petitioners, a woman from Tokyo who is in her 40s, said:

I spent more than half of my life being unable to tell anything about my partner even to my parents and friends. I could only hope the children of current and future generations don’t have to live the kind of life I did and can be celebrated regardless of whether they like people of the opposite sex or not.”


Although gay marriage is not illegal in Japan, there is no framework in place to allow same-sex couples to wed, making it impossible under the current law.

The petition says that the Japanese government is denying LGBT people the principle of equality and individual dignity protected by their constitution.

The JFBA will now investigate the allegation and issue a warning to the government if a constitutional breach of rights is found.

The warning would not be legally binding but would have a “far reaching” impact on LGBT legislation in Japan, according Toshimasa Yamashita, a lawyer representing the JFBA. A warning would likely be referenced in all future trials relating to same-sex marriage, Mr Yamashita said.

The JFBA, which represents social justice cases, said this is the country’s first attempt to legalise same-sex marriages by appealing through human rights law.

Currently Shibuya, a ward of Tokyo, is the only part of Japan, which recognises same-sex partnerships. The district became the first to do so in March when the local assembly voted in favour of the change, granting same-sex couples to right to rent apartments together and have hospital visitations as family members.

The capital celebrated its LGBT community with the Tokyo Rainbow Pride march on 26 April, which over 12,000 people attended.


Members of the Japanese LGBT community submitted the bid following the landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court on 26 June which declared that the right to same-sex marriage is guaranteed by the American constitution, and Ireland becoming the first ever country to vote for marriage equality on 22 May.

The petition argues that LGBT people are suffering “a wide variety of disadvantages” and are not being given their constitutional “right to pursue happiness”.

Without the right to marry, same-sex couples are unable to make their partners as inheritance beneficiaries in the event that they die without a will or share health insurance benefits granted to married couples. And if one of the couple is not Japanese, they are not eligible to hold a spouse visa.

Marriage Equality Around the World (Video)

Did you know the Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2000? And when it did the world went crazy.

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Now look the state of play.

A little over a decade later, marriage equality has spread to four continents, with new debates raging in places once considered unthinkable. The historic vote by the Supreme Court to legalise same-sex marriage adds the United States to the increasingly crowded map of countries with full marriage equality.

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Watch the video below to follow the incredible change as it has unfolded over the past 15 years.

Poll Finds Nearly 70% of Northern Irish People Support for Sam-Sex Marriage, Despite Political Opposition

A new poll has shown that support for the legalisation of gay marriage in Northern Ireland currently sits at almost 70%, despite a recent Northern Ireland Assembly motion to recognise it being voted down.

Despite the introduction of same-sex marriage in England, Scotland and Wales, the DUP government in Northern Ireland continues to block all legislation on the issue.

However, a poll has this week found that same-sex marriage has overwhelming popular support.

The Ipsos MORI survey found 68% of people in the country now support same-sex marriage – even higher than the 62.1% who voted ‘Yes’ in the Republic of Ireland.

Support is much higher among young people, with 82% of 16 to 34-year-olds and 75% of 35 to 54-year-olds supporting same-sex marriage.

There was a large division in support for same-sex marriage along religious lines – Ipsos MORI found that 75 per cent of Catholics supported it, compared to 57 per cent of Protestants.

When broken down by party support, Sinn Fein voters were most likely to support same-sex marriage, with 80 per cent being in favour.


Even among DUP supporters, 45% of people disagree with their own party’s stance on the issue.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director, said:

The people have spoken and it’s clear they don’t want Northern Ireland to be left behind on marriage equality. This poll shows support in Northern Ireland for equal marriage is even higher than in Ireland’s landslide referendum.

Northern Ireland’s politicians are badly out of step with the people on marriage equality. Continuing resistance to bringing Northern Ireland in step with all our neighbours is unacceptable. It’s high time Northern Ireland said a big ‘we do too’ to equality.

The Stormont Executive should bring forward marriage equality legislation without further delay.”

However, even though support in Northern Ireland is currently much higher than both of these figures, it seems unlikely that a motion to recognise it would pass in the Assembly while the DUP continue to oppose it.

Northern Ireland is currently the only nation in the UK where same-sex marriage is not allowed.



Couple Bring Korea’s First Ever Equal Marriage Lawsuit to Court

Korea’s first married gay couple, Kim-Jho Gwang-soo and Kim Seung-hwan, have taken court action to get their marriage legally recognised.

Kim-Jho, 50, a movie director, and Kim, 31, CEO of film production company Rainbow Factory, launched their challenge in the Seoul Western District Court on Monday. The couple, who wed in September 2013, have filed a suit against the Seodaemun-gu district office for refusing to register the marriage.

The lawsuit, which was heard behind closed doors in the Seoul Western District Court, hopes to build on the momentum of the US Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling two weeks ago.

Kim-Jho said on her Facebook page Monday

Today might be an important giant step for not just me and Kim but all LGBTs in the nation,”. “I hope the court proves today the first clause of Article 11 in the constitution — which states that all citizens are equal under the law — is effective and not limited to the constitutional meaning.”

The couple were the first to hold a public wedding in the Asian nation, where same-sex marriage remains a taboo.

Knowing their application would be rejected, after a public wedding ceremony in September 2013, the couple submitted their marriage licences to the Seodaemun District Office.

According to the office, the constitution of Korea only recognises opposite-sex couple.

The couple called the rejection of their application “utterly groundless”, and challenged the court to recognise same-sex marriage.

They walked into the court hand-in-hand on Monday, wearing rainbow badges.

They said Monday was “a crucial day” for Korea.

However the country may have quite a way to go. Its Military Criminal Act makes homosexuality illegal, and those found guilty can face up to two years in prison.

Lesbian Couple Marry in China to Push for Same-Sex Marriage in the Country

A prominent Chinese lesbian couple held a simple ceremony on Thursday to announce their informal marriage in their latest effort to push for the legalisation of same-sex unions in China.

Dressed in white bridal gowns, they held an informal wedding in front of two dozen friends at a restaurant in Beijing.



They had planned to try and make it official at their local registry office but were warned against “making a scene” by police.

Talking to CNN, Li said before the wedding banquet

I feel like this is the right time. We’ve been together for so long.”

In their push to get same-sex unions recognised in China, Li and her partner said they were partly inspired by last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to extend same-sex marriage rights across all 50 states.

The ruling has provoked a national conversation in China about gay rights, not least because the court’s majority decision quoted the Chinese sage Confucius – “Marriage lies at the foundation of government.”

The passage has been shared widely on Chinese social media; mainly drawing supportive comments.

Li, a well-known women’s rights campaigner, was among five feminists detained in China in early March for 37 days in a crackdown on social activism.

During that time, she wasn’t allowed to see her partner because same-sex unions aren’t recognised, she said.

I hope by doing this, we’re married no matter whether it’s legal or not. We’re married women now!”

Li said her parents didn’t attend the wedding, which was attended by two dozen of her friends. She said they were ashamed of her.

But they will spend their honeymoon in Harbin, northern China – Xu’s hometown – as her parents are more supportive.

Congratulations America, US Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage is Legal Nationwide

The Supreme Court has delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

Advocates have called the right for same-sex ‘the most pressing civil rights issue of modern times’, while critics said the courts had sent the country into uncharted territory by changing the traditional definition of marriage.

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Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion

Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.”

He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.

It is unclear how soon marriage licences will be issued in states where gay unions were previously prohibited.

Before the ruling on Thursday, same-sex couples could marry in 37 states in addition to Washington DC.

Hundreds of people had camped out for hours awaiting the news, and when it was delivered a loud cheers erupted outside the court.

On social media, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton merely tweeted the word “proud” and the White House changed its Twitter avatar into the rainbow colours.

Hillary Clinton Releases New Video Honoring Same-Sex Couples

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on the constitutionality of states’ same-sex marriage bans, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign released a new video honouring same-sex couples across the country.

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In the video, titled “Equal,” same-sex couples, including one couple featured in her announcement video, speak about the strides the LGBT equality movement has made in recent years.

Watch below

World’s Smallest Country Legalises Gay Marriage

The Pitcairn Island is a country with only 48 people living there – have unanimously legalised same-sex marriage.


They actually legalised it a month ago, but couldn’t get the news out because the island’s website was down.

Deputy Governor of Pitcairn, Kevin Lynch said that the local council unanimously accepted the law change after England, Scotland, and Wales legalised gay marriage last year.

Rodney Croome, the National Director of Australian Marriage Equality said

It shows how much the islanders value equality and inclusion. I could imagine some couples from off the island might find it a romantic destination, including Australians who can’t marry in their own country.”

Established in 1790 by a bunch of English mutineers and Tahitian passengers, Pitcairn is a part of the Pacific British, and is considered the smallest country in the world.

Mexico’s Supreme Court Effectively Legalises Same-Sex Marriage

The Supreme Court in Mexico has legalised same-sex marriage in a landmark legal ruling.

However, the country doesn’t have equal marriage rights just yet.

A court has decreed that it is unconstitutional for Mexican states to bar same-sex marriages.

As the purpose of matrimony is not procreation, there is no justified reason that the matrimonial union be heterosexual, nor that it be stated as between only a man and only a woman. Such a statement turns out to be discriminatory in its mere expression.”

Whilst no official legislation has been brought forward in parliament to introduce marriage for gay and bisexual couples, the court ruling represents a precedent that will require courts throughout the country to follow suit.

This means that same-sex marriage has effectively been legalised throughout Mexico.

Estefanía Vela, a legal scholar at a Mexico City university told the New York Times of the ruling:

Without a doubt, gay marriage is legal everywhere. If a same-sex couple comes along and the code says marriage is between a man and a woman and for the purposes of reproduction, the court says, ‘Ignore it, marriage is for two people’.”

However, same-sex couples might still run into a few snags because local registrars are not required to follow this ruling; however gay couples denied marriage rights in their states are able to seek injunctions from district judges since the jurisprudential thesis now requires the judges to grant them.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just ignoring the discriminatory code or the local registrar. Even though judges are now required to provide marriage licenses, if a registrar denies a same-sex couple, it is up to that couple to appeal the courts.

That process can cost $1,000 or more and the legal process can take months. While this means marriage is not 100% equal, the recent ruling in Mexico is definitely a step in the right direction.

A number of Latin American countries have allowed same-sex marriage in recent years. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have already done so, whilst Chile and Ecuador are set to do so in the near future.

Angela Merkel Rejects Same-Sex Marriage in Germany

A spokesman for Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out introducing same-sex marriage.

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Today was an important milestone in dismantling discrimination and the chancellor is pleased about that, but same-sex marriages are not a goal of this government. Every country makes its own laws – some countries go one route while others go another. In Germany we’ll take a path that suits Germany.”

Some have blamed the government’s coalition agreement for lack of flexibility on the issue.

Following the vote in Ireland, the German Chancellor faced calls for her government to catch up and introduce equality, with opposition Green leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt directly calling on Merkel to act.

Germany allows same-sex couples to enter into registered life partnerships that provide some of the benefits of marriage – but the Chancellor’s CDU/CSU coalition continues to oppose same-sex marriage.

Thomas Jaeger of Cologne University said:

This government isn’t capable of spontaneous reforms and is unable to move with the times. These are two big parties in the way of each other that don’t have the courage to tackle anything not agreed on in advance in their coalition agreement.”

Greenland’s Parliament Unanimously Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Greenland’s Parliament has unanimously approved same-sex marriage and adoption.

MPs in the country, which has a population of 57,000, voted to adopt Danish legislation on the issue.

Denmark became the first country to allow same-sex partnerships legality in 1989, and in 2012, the parliament approved a law that allowed gay couples to be marriage in a formal church wedding ceremony.

Two MPs were absent, but none voted against the measure.

The new measure will now scrap Greenland’s domestic partnership laws, adopted from Greenland in 1996, which allowed couples to register as same-sex couples and receive nearly the same rights as married opposite-sex couples.


Going into effect on 1 October 2015, the new law also grants adoption rights to same-sex couples, say reports.

Greenland in 2008 introduced discrimination protection for gay people, and in 2010 held its first gay

Singapore Bans Lesbian-themed Song by Jolin Tsa

Singapore has banned the song We’re All Different, Yet The Same by Taiwanese queen of pop, Jolin Tsai.

The video is based on the true story of a lesbian couple who have been together for more than 30 years. When of the women are hospitalized due to old age and required emergency surgery, her partner not able to sign the consent form, because she was not a legal spouse or family member. She then has to call around to try and find her partner’s estranged family members to the sign the form.

Also read: Taiwanese Queen of Pop, Jolin Tsai Tells Touching Lesbian Love Story in New Music Video

The music video has already received a lot of attention in Taiwan, where same-sex marriage is a hot topic.

Singapore’s censorship board, the Media Development Authority, recently issued a document to all TV and radio stations banning the broadcast of the song, which it said promoted gay marriage and therefore contravened Singaporean law.

Gay sex is still technically illegal in the country.

Tsai’s manager said:

Jolin expressed her support for gay marriage through the music of We’re All Different, Yet The Same. She will feel it’s a pity, but respects different opinions.”

Hillary Clinton Hopes the Supreme Court Will Make Marriage Equality Legal Nationwide

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton made headlines when she finally announced that she would be running for President in the 2016 election. The former Secretary of State was widely regarded as the only possible presidential candidate for the Democratic party due to her long career in politics and her name recognition – few candidates on either the Democratic or Republican side are as well-known.

Many also believe that Hillary has a strong chance of winning. Despite the recent controversy surrounding her decision to use her personal email address to send out confidential emails (rather than her official government email), her stance on women’s rights (she is a huge supporter of them) and immigration (she supports the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants) makes her a hit with women and people of colour; two important demos that Republicans have mostly offended and failed to appeal to thus far.

She also stands a strong chance of winning the majority of the LGBT vote too. Clinton has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights for several years and a statement from her campaign spokesperson Adrienne Elrod explained that:

Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right.”

Clinton’s statement comes as the Supreme Court gears up for a monumental ruling on marriage equality, regarding the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to uphold same-sex marriage bans in the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky. The Supreme Court will be deciding whether the United States Constitution requires a state to issue marriage license of two people of the same sex and if a state is required to recognise a same-sex marriage if their marriage was (lawfully) licensed in a different state. Essentially, a ruling in favour of marriage equality here would make it legal across the entire United States and would make it illegal for states to try and ban same-sex marriage, as several have tried to do already.

The statement from Clinton is also important as it was previously unclear just what her stance on marriage equality was. Back in 2008, Clinton along with then-Senator Barack Obama, both agreed that although same-sex couples should be able to have civil partnerships, neither of them supported same-sex marriage. The stance seemed unsurprising at the time given that her husband Bill Clinton introduced the restrictive Defense of Marriage Act during his presidency (although he later said that he regretted it) and LGBT rights were significantly less popular in 2008 as they are now. And, although Clinton has spoken in favour of LGBT rights, just last year she said that marriage equality should be left up to the states to decide.

Unfortunately, Clinton hasn’t revealed what has led to her change of heart. Many will chalk it down to the fact that it would reflect badly on her if she didn’t support LGBT rights wholeheartedly, given that President Obama has issued many statements (and some executive orders) both supporting and protecting LGBT rights. However, regardless of her reasoning, her position on marriage equality should be seen as a good thing.

Brides Celebrate Japans First Celebrity Same-Sex Marriage

The first celebrity lesbian wedding was held in Japan, Tokoy this weekend. Former Gravure model and television personality Ayaka Ichinose (34) and actress Akane Sugimori (28) got married in a symbolic ceremony on Sunday amid growing calls for Japan to legalise gay marriage.

While their marriage will not be recognised under law, actresses – both dressed in white – tied the knot in front of some 80 relatives and friends.

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Sugimori told press after the ceremony in Shinjuku ward.

We held the wedding ceremony so that it might become easier for others to do the same in the future.”

Akane Sugimori

She said they would try to register their marriage with the municipal office, but expected their application to be rejected.

Ichinose came out as a lesbian in 2009, and met Sugimori at a gay bar in Shinjuku, Tokyo in October 2012.

We hope gay people will also be able to marry in Japan, and hope our wedding can help promote this goal.’

Ayaka Ichinose

Japan has a rich gay history, but LGBT rights get short shrift in the mainstream media. Japan’s views on homosexuality are a complex one. Despite artistic cultural exports that shows Japan as being a socially progressive society in regards to gender and sexual expression, the country still struggles with broad legislation that would ensure LGBT equality.

Last month, a Tokyo council voted to issue “partnership” certificates to gay couples, the first such recognition of same-sex unions in Japan. Other municipalities are now considering doing the same.

The certificate will carry only symbolic significance, since the Japanese constitution identifies marriage as a union based on mutual consent of the parties from “both sexes”.

Ichinose said she was ‘very pleased’ by the move and was considering moving to the ward, but she noted that as the certificates are effective only in Shibuya, there would not be many cases in which they would be useful.

Two other districts and one city are now considering similar measures.

Watch | Touching Marriage Equality Ad Encourages Families to Vote ‘Yes’ for Irelands Equality Referendum

Irish LGBT youth and parents coalition are calling for a ‘Yes’ vote in the forthcoming marriage equality referendum in Ireland.

The referendum on marriage equality is only a few weeks away, and the new campaign focuses on encouraging people to talk to their family about the issue.

As polling day approaches, this newest ad asks people to make sure that they bring their family with them to vote on the day, and has a touching storyline in it too, just for good measure.

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Securing marriage equality is hugely important for LGBT young people, in particular,” said Mr. Barron.  “Too many LGBT young people experience difficult times growing up and know they don’t enjoy equal rights.  If marriage equality is not passed, we reconfirm to them that their all too common experiences of homophobic bullying and rejection are acceptable in Ireland.  This would be a devastating outcome. 

Many LGBT young people don’t have a voice because they’re still too young to vote but the outcome of this referendum will deeply affect their lives.  They really want their parents and older relatives to campaign for and vote ‘yes’.

The organisations involved in ‘BeLonG To YES’ will work together over the coming weeks to encourage young people to talk to their parents about supporting the referendum, and then have their parents talk to family, friends and colleagues to pass on that message.  We must not forget that this is a nationwide referendum and reaching out to people in rural areas is paramount, because it is in these communities that this referendum will be won.

Marriage equality affects not only today’s adults, but also today’s children and the children of the future. We are delighted, and we see it as very positive, that our ‘Yes’ campaign has the support of a large coalition of youth and children’s groups.

We have seven weeks to do right by our young people and ensure Ireland becomes a country where no young person has to suffer because of their sexuality.  Just imagine what will be possible for future generations of LGBT young people when their future begins with a resounding ‘yes’.”


Second Tokyo District To Recognise Same-Sex Relationships

Another district in Tokyo has announced that it will recognise same-sex relationships. The Shibuya district, which hosts many international companies, and is regarded as a business hub, will start issuing marriage certificates.

Mayor Nobuto Hosaka of Setagaya, Tokyo’s most populous ward, has now said Shibuya’s efforts to recognise same-sex relationships have prompted his district to do the sam.

MORE: District In Tokyo Plans to Extend Marriage Rights of Same-Sex Couples

One official responsible for drafting the Shibuya plans said they would encourage businesses and hospitals to recognise the partnerships of gay couples, despite the certificates only holding symbolic significance.

The legal recognition of same-sex relationships is currently banned in Japan, as the country’s constitution defines marriage as “a union based on the mutual consent of parties from both sexes.”

This means the certificates would not be legally binding, but are more a symbolic gesture.

The Setagaya assembly members will vote on a measure in due course.

Out Irish Senator Katherine Zappone Calls For Marriage Equality In Ireland

Senator Katherine Zappone, who is one of Ireland’s only out lesbian senator, has been campaigning for equal marriage in Ireland for more than a decade.


In a video for Ireland’s Marriage Equality campaign, she says the country “stands poised to become a beacon of freedom” if it passes equal marriage and that there “is an opportunity for Ireland to make history in 2015”.

“To make sure we embrace this historic moment, it’s important that you speak with your families, friends, colleagues and neighbours about why marriage equality is important to you.”

Senator Katherine Zappone

Senator Zappone married her partner, Ann Louise Gilligan, in Canada during 2003.

In 2006, the High Court in Dublin rejected recognition of their marriage, stating that marriage could only be defined between members of the opposite sex.

A referendum on legalising the reform will be held in May.

District In Tokyo Plans to Extend Marriage Rights of Same-Sex Couples

A district in Tokyo plans to give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married opposite-sex spouses, becoming the first local government in Japan to do so at a time when gay marriage is a hot-button issue in many countries.

Last week, the Shibuya Ward in central Tokyo unveiled a draft of the new statute, which it said would be put to a vote in the ward’s assembly next month. If the measure passes, as expected, same-sex couples could apply for “proof of partnership” certificates starting April 1, said Shigeru Saito, a general affairs official.

MORE: Japanese Zen Temple Begins to Offer Symbolic Same-Sex Marriages to LGBT Community

Mr. Saito said that while the partnerships would not be legally binding, the move was intended to raise awareness about the rights of not only lesbians and gay men but also bisexual and transgender people. Current law recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Tens of thousands of people took part in Taiwan’s gay pride march on Saturday, including groups from Asian nations that have more restrictive laws on same-sex issues.

While Japanese society is relatively tolerant of homosexuality, it has afforded few legal rights or protections to gays and lesbians. Same-sex couples have reported being barred from renting apartments together or from visiting each other in hospitals because they are not married.

Ken Hasebe, a ward assembly member who proposed the measure, said he wanted to reduce discrimination in housing, health care and other areas. He said the statute was modeled on laws in European countries like Germany, which permits domestic partnerships between gay couples.

MORE: Two Japanese Actresses Announce Engagement and Arrangements for the Country’s First Celebrity Same-Sex Marriage

He said he proposed the move after seeing surveys finding about 5 percent of Tokyo residents to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. He said there had been growing attention to these residents’ rights because of the gay marriage debate in the United States and because a few actors and lawmakers in Japan have revealed that they are gay.

“My district is Harajuku, where there are a large number of L.G.B.T. people. Shibuya is an international community, so it is only natural that we have international levels of diversity.”

Ken Hasebe

Wataru Ishizaka, a gay ward assembly member in a different part of Tokyo who has advocated for sexual minority issues, praised Shibuya’s move. He said he hoped it would eventually bolster the legal standing of gay people at the national level.

“I think we are behind the rest of the world. But this is a first step.”

Wataru Ishizaka

Vietnamese Lesbian Couple Hold Valentine’s Day Wedding On Airplane

A Vietnamese lesbian couple celebrated Valentine’s Day by celebrating their wedding on an airplane.

Couple, Tang Ai Linh and Pham Thi Thanh Phuong, who have been together for 13 years, approached the airline Vietjet to ask about the possibility of a ceremonial wedding. The airline agreed, but then went all out, decking out the plane with flowers to ensure the celebrations were unforgettable.

According to Thanhnien News, the couple exchanged rings on the flight, before sharing a kiss and cutting their wedding cake.

Same-sex marriage is not legally recognised in Vietnam, but last month the government repealed a law, which actively criminalised same-sex weddings.

The move was seen by many as a move designed to promote the country’s image as a tolerant and accepting place, and boost tourism especially from LGBT travelers. It is the first country in South East Asia to make such a move.

Singapore’s courts upheld its anti-gay laws in October, parts of Indonesia punish homosexuality with 100 lashes, and Brunei passed a law calling for gays to be stoned to death.

How Many LGBT People Oppose Marriage Equality?

One of the loudest arguments in the fight for LGBT equality has been same sex marriage rights. Same sex marriage has been at the forefront of the movement, as grassroots campaigners and leading politicians alike champion same sex marriage, attempting to repeal laws that go against it and make it legal in places that only offered civil unions or partnerships.

And that campaigning has been incredibly successful. In the United States, same sex marriage campaigners have seen the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) repealed in order for same sex married couples to have their marriages recognised by the government and over 70% of the population now lives in a place where same sex marriage is legal.

Meanwhile, in the UK, David Cameron has said that helping bring same sex marriage into law is one of his proudest achievements.

But has it all been for nothing? Despite the growing support for same sex marriage amongst in and out of the LGBT community, a new study from Pew suggests that many LGBT people are actually opposed to it.

Pew deemed that overall, 7% of LGBT people in the United States are opposed to same sex marriage. The biggest demographics who are against same sex marriage are LGBT African-Americans, LGBT Republicans and bisexuals.

58% of black LGBT people are strongly in favour of same sex marriage, with 12% against it.

45% of LGBT Republicans are strongly in favour, with 19% against it. 8% of bisexuals are against same sex marriage and 22% don’t feel strongly in favour or against it.

The data suggests that religion and age could have been strong factors in LGBT people feeling this way as although 82% of those ages 18 to 29 were in support, 71% of LGBT people over 30 support same sex marriage, which is a big difference.

And in religious groups, 67% of religious LGBT people support same sex marriage in comparison to 82% of non-religiously affiliated LGBT people supporting it.

What’s also important to note is that Pew’s data was collected in 2013, which was before the many same sex marriage victories that took place in the United States in 2014. Perhaps respondents saw those victories take place and changed their opinions afterwards.

Other Pew data told us that 18% of LGBT people overall were in favour of same sex marriage but not strongly.

That’s likely down to the fact that a growing number of LGBT people feel as though same sex marriage gets too much of the limelight and that other LGBT rights issues – such as housing, employment and adoption rights – deserve more attention.

Clearly there is work to be done on all fronts, so we’ll keep you posted once we know more.

Frenemies | Marriage Equality vs. Equality Period

As a response to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing cases regarding same sex marriage in three states including my home state of Texas, a rally was held in Dallas where my wife and I live. Although the temps lingered around freezing that evening (not Dallasite friendly), we felt we should attend – in solidarity with our community and the couples representing us in the hearings.

I was expecting to see some anti-gay protestors around, but tacky signs with bible verses taken out of context were nowhere to be found. I was, however, unpleasantly surprised to find that members of our own Dallas queer community were present to passively communicate their dismay – holding a sign suggesting that “equality period” should be our focus rather than that of marriage and delivering a speech acknowledging that we should demand marriage equality but, in an almost patronizing fashion, reminding us that matters such as the bullying of our youth and the hate crimes against our trans brothers and sisters potentially hold more importance.

Overall, the rally was exactly what it should be – inspiring and motivational. It reinforced to my wife and me the importance of being active in this movement that is so personal. However, it also served as a reminder of how divided our community can often be.

I embrace and celebrate the various backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs that make up the LGBT family. We are quite diverse and when it comes to creating a picture representative of who we are, one brush simply will not do. We fall on all variants of the gender spectrum; we are black, Latino, white, Asian, Middle Eastern; we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist; we are monogamous, polyamorous, celibate; we are dating, married, single; we are conservative, liberal, moderate, non-political; we are everything you thought we were and so much more – I love it. And along with those differences comes varying worldviews. Regardless of what you’ve been told, there is such a thing as a gay Republican.

We’re not all Obama supporting, pro-choice-ing, immigration reforming, climate change acknowledging liberals. I am all of the aforementioned things and, admittedly, I struggle to understand and accept my LGBT brothers and sisters who aren’t, but I’m working on it.

Amongst the differing perspectives in our community, there is a movement that believes that the majority of LGBT activists are focused too heavily on marriage equality. Their perspective is that we are exerting too much of our energy in the fight for marriage while there are many other issues that deserve our attention in a more urgent sense than that of same sex marriage. And that, through our actions, we are suggesting that, as soon as nationwide marriage equality is accomplished, our work here will be done.

I wonder what would happen if we could find it in our hearts to support the causes of our community – whether actively or passively – rather than diminishing those that we are not passionate about. It seems to me that each of us has a zeal for something. Feminism, animal rights, racial equality, and LGBT equality are a few of mine.

If you were to look at my bank account, my social media updates, and watch where I spend my time, this would be evident to you. However, the fact that I’ve chosen to use my time in support of these causes does not imply that I believe others are of less value. It simply means this is where my passions lie.

Somewhere along the way, whether by nature or nurture, we all feel a tug to fight for something. It seems that this “tug” is there for a reason – so that we may use our talents and abilities to be a part of a movement that needs us. While my “tug” has called me to women’s rights, yours may have directed you to trans advocacy. Does this make me right and you wrong or vice versa?

I don’t think so. It places us on a parallel path – each having a goal that will lead us to the same place, but which has us on a different road to one destination.

The argument as to whether the marriage equality movement has overtaken LGBT equality is a tricky one. Opposition within our own community to same sex marriage activists will say that there are more serious issues we should be fighting for. They feel that we have become wrapped up in one issue rather than seeing the bigger picture. Maybe my strong desire for marriage equality is selfish. I am, after all, in a legally unrecognized marriage.

My wife and I have been together for 5 years, sharing a household for 4, running a business together for 2, and our wedding in Texas was in May of 2013. There is not enough time in the day to list the many reasons why I want for marriage equality in my home state. I will be a direct beneficiary when this finally passes. Maybe I am guilty of getting caught up in this particular brand of social change because it will enrich my relationship and remove many of the legal complications that go along with being in a committed same sex relationship. However, I am not in this fight for only self-serving reasons.

Marriage equality will not only serve as an advantage for gay couples desiring to marry. It will, and already has, been a major part of a culture change that has needed to happen in this country for ages. It has and will continue to be a crucial piece to changing hearts and minds in our society. As the naysayers see same sex couples functioning in this world as normal, committed couples, they will find fewer reasons to hold on to their prejudices. As the prejudices diminish, LGBT equality as a whole will benefit.

Young queer people will start to believe that, when Dan Savage and Terry Miller, told them it would get better, they might have actually spoken the truth. Once young LGBTs see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, they may be less likely to consider suicide. The ripple effects of marriage equality hold the potential to foster real positive social change for our community with further reaches than we can conceive of.

It is also relevant to address the fact that marriage rights are a part of a national dialogue happening now. There is something to be said for striking while the iron is hot. On a national level, same sex marriage is the focus of many in the equality movement, but why are we so quick to criticize? It is a conversation being had in political circles and in the media. And thank god for that. Is this not a product of the activism of our LGBT brothers and sisters who came before? Instead of picking apart the flaws of this discourse, shouldn’t we take advantage of the fact that it is being had? Maybe this is where we are placing our emphasis at this time, but we know that, as soon as this battle is won, we will damn sure be moving on to the next. We know the war is not finished until there is equality for all.

When queer people can be a united front, we cannot be stopped. We are at our greatest when we support one another. The fight for safer schools for LGBT youth is every bit as important as the battle for safer streets for trans people. Each has the potential to make the place of queer people in this world a stronger and more secure one. So, let us continue to view our movement with a critical eye and question everything. Let us always improve and refine our plans of attack. But, let us encourage and support our brothers and sisters who have chosen to give their time to the varying facets of the equality movement. Let’s face it – we have enough enemies.

Lifting Same-Sex Marriage Ban In Florida Allows Lesbian Couple To Be Legally Recognised As Joint Parents

A Florida judge has ruled that genetics are not required for parenthood.

This is a first in Florida, but by lifting of a same-sex marriage ban now means an infant has the right to call both women in a lesbian couple her parents.

Palm Beach Circuit Judge, Lisa Small, ruled that both Lisa Maxwell and Christine Stephens-Maxwell are the parents of 7-week-old Satori. Satori was born last month after Christine became pregnant through in-vitro fertilization. The couple had married in New York in 2012.

Florida law recognizes that a baby born to a married couple from in-vitro fertilization is the child of both husband and wife. But Circuit Judge Lisa Small extended that recognition to the spouse of the child-bearing wife, now that Florida recognizes same-sex marriages.

“To afford the constitutional protections to which petitioner is entitled, the court interprets ‘husband’ … to mean the spouse of the child-bearing wife.”

Palm Beach Circuit Judge Lisa Small

Before the ban was lifted earlier this month, Lisa would have had to adopt Satori.


“I can’t imagine having to go to a hospital, having to go to a school and being turned away and not recognized that this is my child who I love dearly”

Lisa Maxwell.

Lisa Maxwell’s petition also asked Small to recognize the couple’s out-of-state marriage, which she did.

“Not only can we get married, but we can create wonderful families.”

Christina Stephens-Maxwell

Small’s ruling builds on the ground-breaking federal court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage Jan. 6 in Florida.

US Supreme Court to Finally Address Same-Sex Marriage Debate Across All America

Setting the stage for a potentially historic ruling, the Supreme Court has announcedit will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.

In a move that sets the stage for a historic final decision, the court said it would convene in April to study cases in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky, which have banned same-sex marriage.

Justices will address two questions: whether states are bound by the Constitution to license a same-sex marriage, and whether a state is required to recognize same-sex marriages which took place out-of-state.

If they answer yes, same-sex marriage will become legal in all 50 US states.

“That will urge the Supreme Court to make marriage equality a reality for all Americans. It is time for our nation to take another critical step forward to ensure the fundamental equality of all Americans—no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love.”

Attorney General Eric Holder

The Justice Department made the decision to advocate for same-sex marriages several years ago.

“Marriage has returned to the US Supreme Court faster than virtually any other issue in American history, and there’s a simple reason for that. Committed and loving gay and lesbian couples, their children, and the fair-minded American people refuse to wait a single day longer.

We’ve reached the moment of truth … now the nine justices of the Supreme Court have an urgent opportunity to guarantee fairness for countless families, once and for all.”

Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign

In a landmark decision in June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a law denying federal benefits to homosexual couples by defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In doing so, it cleared the way for married gay and lesbian couples to enjoy the same rights and privileges under federal law as their straight counterparts.


UK PM David Cameron Says Marriage Equality Is One of His Biggest Achievements

The most talked about topic in recent years regarding LGBT rights is marriage equality. While many have criticised the way that marriage equality has been pushed to the forefront, saying that there are more pressing concerns such as homeless LGBT youth and LGBT mental health, few can disagree that same-sex marriage is still incredibly important.

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which were decided by the United Nations General Assembly in the 1940s) ‘the right to marry’ has been deemed a human right. So the fact that so many countries deny their citizens to get married if they are a same-sex couple is very much a violation.

It was good news then, that after increasing calls for marriage equality the UK brought it into law in 2014, giving same-sex couples the right to marry and the ability to call one another husband or wife and have the legal forms to prove it. And now, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called marriage equality one is his greatest achievements.

At a Q&A in Wirral, Cameron told attendees that:

“I did get a lot of letters from men who said, because of the changes you made, I have been able to marry the person I love. That was great. Lots of people have invited me [to their weddings] and sent me lovely letters saying if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to marry the person I love. But I haven’t been to [a same-sex marriage] yet. I’m sure I will soon.”

David Cameron

Cameron’s support comes even as supporters of his political party (the Conservative Party) have voiced opposition to his stance, saying that his focus on marriage equality has dramatically hurt their chances of succeeding in the UK’s general election which is set to take place in May.

One group called the Grassroots Conservatives recently issued a letter saying that Cameron’s “drive to ram” marriage equality legislation through Parliament was “bizarre”. GC Chairman Bob Wollard also added that it will result in them “handing the keys over” to UKIP (UK Independent Party) a far-right political party which regularly makes headlines for its racist, homophobic and transphobic views.

The fact that David Cameron continues to be vocal about his support of marriage equality, in the face of this is positive at least. Hearing that the UK’s leading politician is in favour of your rights is never a bad thing.

Take a Look at the Latest Marriage Equality Map of the United States

According to several polls released in 2013, a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. Responses to Gallup’s survey on the matter suggested that most Americans would actually support a nationwide ruling in favour of same-sex marriage.

However, although the United States repealed DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), a law that restricted benefits for married same-sex couples across the country, it’s unlikely that a law in favour of same-sex marriage would ever be instated. Instead, same-sex marriage is being decided on a state by state basis.

Some states have been forced to bring same-sex marriage into law due to court rulings that laws against same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, while rulings in other states have been left to public vote, meaning that the rights of same-sex citizens are often dictated by local bias, intolerance and political leanings. Though, a majority of states in the country do now allow same-sex marriages to take place and now we have an updated map showing marriage equality across the U.S.

The full list of states that allow for same-sex marriage are as follows: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

And, it’s not a state but the District of Columbia (Washington D.C) also allows for same-sex marriage. Overall it means that over 70% of American citizens reside in places where same-sex marriage can take place.

Not that there aren’t still ways to go though, as that map shows. In Missouri, the ban on same-sex marriages was repealed but Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed. He didn’t request a stay and so while St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jackson County are providing same-sex marriage licenses, other counties are awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

gay-marriage-map-01 gay-marriage-map-02

In Texas meanwhile, it looks incredibly likely that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will repeal the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In retaliation, a bill has been introduced by Rep. Cecil Bell (R) that sees that government employees in the state “may not recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license” and they risk losing their salary, pension and benefits if they do so.

So, other than a few politicians souring things, it looks very likely that we’ll be posting about same-sex marriage coming to other states in the U.S very soon indeed.

Beth Ditto and Her Partner Kristin Ogata Legally Wed in Oregon

Congratulations are in order for Beth Ditto and wife Kristin Ogata (again), who legally married on New Year’s Eve

According to reports, the two legally wed on New Year’s Eve, 17 months after they married in Hawaii in a ‘female-centric’ yet not legally binding ceremony. They have now opted to make their nuptials official after sam-sex marriage was legalised in their home state of Oregon.

@detective_girls CEREMONY!! A photo posted by BethBethBeth (@marybethditto) on

The singer and campaigner announced the news on Facebook, saying:

“Legally married finally, a year later! Thanks everyone who fought to make gay marriage legal in Oregon! In 2015, the whole US!”

Beth Ditto

Beth and Kristin, who have been best friends since they were teenagers.

Watch | Lesbian Couples Fight For Same-Sex Marriage in Mississippi

Same-sex marriages is now available in 75% America, but the battle needs more momentum, especially in the South.

However, do not fear, as the same-sex marriage movement is alive and well, even in Mississippi.

Andrea Sanders and Rebecca Bickett are one of two lesbian couples fighting to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Watch their story…