Tag Archives: Same-sex marriage

Gay Marriage Comes to Taiwan

It’s been widely expected, and now it’s confirmed by the BBC: same-sex marriage is coming to Taiwan. Note though that this is “same-sex” marriage, and not necessarily full marriage equality. The court ruling has given the parliament two years to legislate for marriage between same-sex couples, but it’s possible that such legislation could provide only for marriage, but not for any of the contingent rights that normally come with heterosexual couples. It could also take two years or more, for this decision to take full effect. There will not be gay wedding bells in Taipei, just yet.

This is the first Asian country to approve gay marriage, in any form – but it won’t be the last. We now have same-sex marriage approved, at least in principle, on every continent. That surely deserves

Taiwan’s top judges have ruled in favour of gay marriage, paving the way for it to become the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex unions.

The highest court ruled that current laws preventing members of the same sex from marrying violated their right to equality and were unconstitutional.

It gave parliament two years to amend existing laws or pass new ones.

Wednesday’s landmark decision came as the LGBT community faces increasing persecution in the region.

In a press release following the ruling, the court said that “disallowing two persons of the same sex to marry, for the sake of safeguarding basic ethical orders” constituted a “different treatment” with “no rational basis.”

The court concluded that “such different treatment is incompatible with the spirit and meaning of the right to equality” as protected by Taiwan’s constitution.

More at: BBC News

Gay Marriage, in Church – Norway!

Same-sex marriages may now be conducted, in Church, across Scandinavia (at least, in the region’s national churches, the Lutherans).


Sweden paved the way in 2009. With the support of Swedish bishops, the same legislation that provided for same-sex marriage, included provision for gay marriage in Lutheran churches.

Iceland followed suit when it approved gay marriage the following year, in 2010. Again, this was by parliamentary legislation, but with the support of the country’s bishops.

By Nordic standards, Denmark was slow to legislate for full gay marriage – perhaps because as the first country to approve a form of  civil partnerships that were popularly thought of as gay “marriage”, way back in 2009 they did not feel the need as keenly as their neighbours. Nevertheless, when they did finally approve full equal marriage in 2012, that also included provision for same-sex weddings in Lutheran churches.

For some years, Norway was the laggard. Gay civil marriage was approved back in 2009, but for years, a handful of Lutheran bishops resisted all attempts to extend that to church weddings. Now, in a vote by an overwhelming margin of 88 out of 115, a Norwegian Lutheran church conference has voted to extend marriage services to same-sex couples.

Norway’s Lutheran church votes in favour of same-sex marriage

Norway’s Lutheran Church voted on Monday in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, becoming the latest of a small but growing number of churches worldwide to do so.

Last year the French Protestant Church allowed gay marriage blessings, while the U.S. Presbyterian Church approved a change in the wording of its constitution to include same-sex marriage.

In a vote at the annual conference of the Norwegian Lutheran Church on Monday 88 delegates out of 115 in total backed same-sex marriage.

“Finally we can celebrate love independently of whom one falls in love with,” said Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, leader of the Open Public Church, a religious movement within the church that had campaigned to change the rules.

Source: Reuters

Red State Marriage Equality Train Rolls Along

As marriage equality notched up one victory after another in 2012 and 2013, opponents bleated a repetitive refrain: those were all in liberal, blue states. Gay activists had reached their limit. In red states, traditional marriage would continue to prevail.
Not so.
idaho-rainbow-270x400
Even in Idaho, progress in a court ruling (see below)
Over the year end, in quick succession two red state judges (first Utah, then Oklahoma) ruled that state bans on same – sex marriage were in conflict with the US constitution, and so struck down those bans. Since then, both rulings have had stays placed on their execution, but meanwhile, there’ve been a series of further notable decisions in other red and purple states, some in just the past week. Individually, each of these is less dramatic than the Utah and Oklahoma decisions, but collectively they are impressive, and reinforce the impression that the writing is now on the wall for gay marriage bans, even in red states.
In just the past week,
In Kentucky, a judge ruled today that the portion of the state ban that prohibits recognition of out of state same – sex marriages.
Also today, a hearing was held in a Texan court in one of several legal challenges to the state ban on gay marriage.
In Idaho, a judge ruled yesterday that the state ban on gay marriage cannot be used to exclude a same – sex partner from adopting a spouse’s child.
In Nevada, an obscure ruling against discrimination in jury selection, led to the Republican governor, and also the Democratic Attorney General, declining to defend in court the state’s ban on gay marriage.
Fresh legal challenges to state bans were announced in Lousiana, and Missouri.
As at 12/02/2014,in addition to suits challenging things like survivor benefits and parental /adoption issues, direct challenges to gay marriage bans have been already been filed in the following 21 US states. I  the light of today’s partial ruling, expect Kentucky to join this list soon – and Mississippi, where several couples have applied for marriage licences, in expectation of being denied, which would prepare the way for a full legal challenge. Is there anywhere in the US of A, where state bans on marriage equality are not under threat?
  1. Arkansas
  2. Arizona
  3. Colorado
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho
  6. Kentucky
  7. Louisiana
  8. Michigan
  9. Missouri
  10. Montana
  11. Nebraska
  12. Nevada
  13. North Carolina
  14. Ohio
  15. Oregon
  16. Pennsylvania
  17. South Carolina
  18. Tennessee
  19. Texas
  20. Virginia
  21. Wisconsin
(More details for these at Marriage Equality USA) Even in the churches, including the Catholic Church, there’s progress – but that’s another story.
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Gay Marriage Passes Minnesota Senate Committee

A bill that would authorize same-sex couples to legally marry in Minnesota has cleared a Senate committee and now awaits a vote on the floor, likely later this legislative session.

Senate hearing
Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, introduces her bill allowing same-sex marriage to a packed hearing room during a meeting of the House Civil Law committee at the State Office Building in St. Paul on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

 

A House committee vote on whether to move the bill to the House floor is expected Tuesday evening, March 12.
The Senate Judiciary committee voted 5-3 in favor of the bill Tuesday afternoon, after about three hours of public testimony and members’ comments.
All the ‘yes’ votes were from Democrats and all the ‘no’ votes from Republicans.
The Democrats control both the House and Senate, and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has said he’ll sign a gay-marriage bill if one reaches his desk. Nine states and the District of Columbia currently allow gay marriage.
Tuesday morning, the House Civil Law committee heard an hour and a half of testimony on the House version of the bill and then broke to reconvene at 6 p.m.
“Committed same-sex couples should be treated fairly under the law,” said Rep. Karen Clark, the sponsor of the House bill. “I believe it’s time for us to do the right thing.”
The bill would allow religious organizations to refuse to marry same-sex couples, and it would not affect the way they carry out adoptions, foster care placements or other social services unless they receive public money for those purposes.
But Gus Booth, pastor of Warroad Community Church, said he believes the religious exemptions offer limited protection. “Should a person’s belief be confined
to the four walls of their church?” he said. He said the bill represents “overreaching” on the part of metro lawmakers to impose gay marriage on the rest of the state.
Both Clark and the bill’s Senate sponsor, Scott Dibble, are gay Democrats from Minneapolis.
Eleven-year-old Grace Evans of Fridley told committee members that her mother and father have different, but complementary, strengths. “Which parent do I not need, my mom or my dad?” she asked.
Carlson Cos. Chairwoman Marilyn Carlson Nelson testified in support of the bill in part as a way to attract and retain talented workers. “We must fully live up to our Minnesota values,” she said. Failing to recognize gay marriages amounts to “adult bullying,” she said.
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Same Sex Unions in Church History

The earliest church, in Rome and in the Slavic countries, recognised some forms of same sex union in liturgical rites of  ”adelphopoein” .  It is not entirely clear precisely what was the precise meaning of these rites.  They were clearly not directly comparable to modern marriage – but nor were the forms of heterosexual unions at the time.  Some claim that they were no more than a formalised friendship under the name of  ”brotherhood” – but many Roman lovers called themselves “brothers”.  Some of the couples united under this rite were certainly homosexual lovers, but it is possible not all were.  What is certain, is that the Church under the Roman Empire, for many years recognised and blessed liturgically some form of union for same sex couples.  As late as the sixteenth century, there is a clear written report of a Portuguese male couple having been married in a church in Rome.

This recognition also extended to death.  From  the earliest church until at least the nineteenth century, there are examples of same sex couples, both male and female, being buried in shared graves, in a manner exactly comparable to the common practice of married couples sharing a grave – and often with the parallel made clear in the inscriptions.

The modern Church likes to claim that in condemning same sex relationships, and resisting gay marriage and gay clergy, it is maintaining a long church tradition.  It is not.  To persist in this claim, in the light of increasing evidence from modern scholars, is simply to promote a highly selective  and hence dishonest reading of history.

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