Minnesota set to allow gay marriage after House approves bill | World news | guardian.co.uk
A pivotal vote Thursday positioned Minnesota to become the 12th state in the country to allow gay marriages and the first in the midwest to pass such a law out of its legislature.
The 75-59 House vote was a critical step for the measure, which would allow same-sex weddings beginning this summer. It's a startling shift in the state, where just six months earlier voters turned back an effort to ban them in the Minnesota constitution.
The state Senate plans to consider the bill Monday and leaders expect it to pass there too. Governor Mark Dayton has pledged to sign it into law
onward and upward...
Alert: We're moving the lists of green wedding suppliers to agreenbride.com. Contact us
Minnesota set to allow gay marriage after House approves bill | World news | guardian.co.uk
Daily Kos: National Cathedral to Perform Same-Sex Weddings
In a move that is both real but also has huge symbolic implications, the Washington National Cathedral has decided to perform same-sex weddings.
Cathedral officials tell The Associated Press the church will be among the first Episcopal congregations to implement a new rite of marriage for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members. The church will announce its new policy Wednesday. As the nation's most prominent church, the decision carries huge symbolism. The 106-year-old cathedral has long been a spiritual center for the nation, hosting presidential inaugural services and funerals for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Law will recognise humanist marriages - News - Scotsman.com
Scotland: Same sex AND humanist - hurrah!
The growing popularity of humanist ceremonies has been recognised by the Scottish Government, which is to enshrine in statute a category dubbed “belief” marriages as an alternative to religious or civil ceremonies.
Humanists define humanism as a belief system grounded in the doctrine that humans can live ethical and fulfilling lives based on reason, without reliance on religion or superstition.
Humanist weddings had previously been included in religious ceremonies.
The plans are set out in the marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill which will also see the introduction of same-sex marriage in Scotland.
The move to introduce the new belief ceremonies has been welcomed by Tim Maguire, of the Humanist Society of Scotland.
“It was this slightly strange situation that humanists ceremonies were being counted if you like in the same [religious] category, but clearly we’re rather different,” said Maguire, who carries out weddings himself.
“We’re neither civil, nor religious, but humanism is a belief so it recognises that. I think it’s a recognition of the extraordinary growth in popularity of the ceremonies.”
He added: “There is a very deep distinction between a religion and a philosophy and a dogma. A religion is a dogma and there are laws that people who are members of a faith have to follow. If you’re a Catholic then there’s a lot of guidance about your belief given to you.”
He said that humanist ceremonies, in allowing people to make their own vows, made them relevant to their own lives, rather than asking them to agree to a series of commands that they did not feel connected to.
Maguire said: “We think we’re responsible for our lives. It’s up to us to create meaning in them and a wedding ceremony is where you get to say what your life is about in front of the people who matter most to you.”
Scotland is one of only six countries in the world where humanist marriage ceremonies are legally conducted. The others are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and certain states in the US.
There were fewer than 100 humanist weddings in 2005, when they were first introduced, but in the last year, humanist celebrants have married 2,846 couples in Scotland.
This compares with 1,729 couples who chose the Catholic Church to marry them last year, and 5,557 who chose the Church of Scotland.
Marriage equality blooms at midnight in Maine | Pam's House Blend
Michael Snell and Steven Bridges emerged from City Hall early Saturday morning to ecstatic cheers from close to 300 people who gathered to celebrate Maine’s first same-sex weddings. With 15 couples waiting in the city clerk’s office for marriage licenses, Snell and Bridges became the first to exchange vows in the State of Maine Room, shortly after midnight. …The fact that Maine voters have now approved same-sex marriage has national significance, said David Farmer, spokesman for Mainers United for Marriage, the group that led this year’s campaign for gay marriage. “This is an amazing day for thousands of Maine families, and it’s an amazing time, because Maine has shown that voters will support allowing same-sex couples to marry,” Farmer said Friday night. “This gives hope and energy to states where voters have voted the other way.”
Catholic school fires teacher for planning his same-sex wedding
A Bit of "GLEE" in ST Louis - no music teachers need apply...
A Catholic school in northern St. Louis recently fired its music teacher after learning of his plans to marry his male partner in New York, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wednesday morning.
Al Fischer, a music teacher at St. Ann Catholic School for four years, received termination in mid-February after a representative of the St. Louis Archdiocese overhead his plans to marry his partner of over 20 years.
A spokesperson for the local Archdiocese supported St. Ann’s pastor Bill Kempf’s decision, citing Fischer’s decision to marry violated the Christian Witness Statement.The statement requires that all Catholic education employees sign a contact to “not take a public position contrary to the Catholic Church” and “demonstrate a public life consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Many parents were upset over Fischer’s firing and stated that it was well known that he was gay. Fischer wrote a letter to parents that declined to blame “St. Ann or its leadership” for his firing, but urged them to have a conversation with their children “about whether or not justice was served here.”
Labels: same sex wedding
Stop Saying “Same-Sex” Marriage | The Humanist
As humanists, such degradations are not in the complement of our intentional vocabulary. As humanists, we should stop saying “gay marriage” and “same-sex marriage” and call it what it really is: marriage.
New York became the sixth state to offer officially recognized marriage licenses to same-sex couples; but it didn’t recognize same-sex marriage. Why? Because there is no such thing. Though we hear these sexual orientation-oriented matrimonial distinctions ad nauseam; common usage does not confer definition. What saying “gay” or “same-sex” marriage does confer is that the social worth of gay and lesbian individuals is subordinate and inferior to their heterosexual counterparts.
Marriage (ideally) (is) a long-held, established civil institution based upon cultural expectations of long-term (often lifelong) committed monogamy and mutual respect between two non-related adults participating in a mutually consensual intimate relationship. Such a marriage is conjoined by a civilly recognized contract that generally confers civil and social privileges in the form of tax benefits, social security survivor benefits, and so forth. These are the essential elements of the marital relationship. Beyond philosophical abstracts, marriage is a cherished, challenging, and rewarding commitment between two individuals who love each other and who have their relationship recognized by the state for certain privileges and protections. The marriage arrangement is a platform for these two individuals to nurture each other, pursue developing their family and, ideally, to help each other develop into better human beings. Nowhere in that structure is the sex or gender of the participants relevant. What is relevant is the love, mutual respect, care, and commitment between the participants.
Marriage Equality in the Land of Liberty: A 50-State Rundown
A useful chart going from legal - to 'totally paranoid' states, with the variety of laws for marriage, civil unions, and legal partnerships:
Five states - Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampsire and the District of Columbia
have taken to heart the rights of all people, guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The following states protect the civil rights of their citizens by ensuring marriage equality for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Washington Senate Approves Recognizing Out-of-State Gay Marriages
The Washington Senate approved a bill this week for the state to recognize as domestic partnerships any same-sex marriages that have been enacted in other jurisdictions.
Under a law passed in 2009 that was upheld at the ballot, domestic partnerships in Washington are open to both same-sex and opposite sex couples and provide the same state-governed rights as marriage.
Washington already recognizes out-of-state civil unions and domestic partnerships, but current law excludes same-sex marriages.
Representative Laurie Jinkins, who was the lead sponsor of the bill in the House, has said she is "ecstatic" at the Senate vote but was quick to point out that this isn't a new right the Legislature has come up with, but rather an ironing out of an inequality in existing law.
I'm going to post a list of ethical readings, as soon as I finish editing it :-) But here is a great selection from John Stuart Mill's "On the Subjugation of Women" from last nights's wedding (we also turned out the lights for Earth Hour, and the 'sustainable' caterer had backup heat)
AMSTERDAM (AFP) – The Netherlands celebrated the 10th anniversary of the world's first legally binding gay marriage with another set of nuptials Friday, mixing the formal with the casual.
"I declare you, in my position as mayor of Amsterdam, joined by the rights of marriage," Eberhart van der Laan told Jan van Breda and his partner Thijs Timmermans at the Museum of History in Amsterdam.
The happy couple, dressed in a dark formal suit with mauve shirt for one and a black T-shirt for the other, turned up for the ceremony on foot, with van Breda holding a red balloon in the shape of a heart carrying the figure '10.' "Your personal ceremony takes place in a wider context," mayor van der Laan told the happy, tearful couple. "It is exactly 10 years ago today that the first same-sex marriage was celebrated by my predecessor," he added.
On that occasion, it was Helene Faasen and Anne-Marie Thus who walked down the aisle into the history books as the world's first legally wed lesbian couple. "We married for love, not politics. But of course we were aware it was an historic moment," 41-year-old Thus, a notary assistant and gay rights campaigner, told AFP ahead of Friday's anniversary.
By tying the knot in front of the world's press, "we wanted to make other people think about how horrible it is to be denied something that is a natural right for others," added her wife, 44-year-old notary Faasen. "A heterosexual person never needs to think about whether he is allowed to marry or not, he simply needs to be lucky enough to find the love of his life."
The Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, in 2001. Faasen and Thus, both in traditional, flowing wedding gowns, exchanged the first vows alongside three pairs of grooms in Amsterdam on April 1 that year before then mayor Job Cohen.
Since then, nearly 15,000 gay and lesbian couples have wed in the Netherlands -- about two percent of the total number of marriages registered between 2001 and 2010, based on figures from the Central Statistics Bureau.
WMarriage Equality Bill Introduced In Maryland Senate
Earlier today, Maryland Senators introduced SB 116, ‘Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act,’ which would allow gays and lesbians to marry in the state while exempting religious institutions from conducting the same-sex marriage ceremonies. State Senator Robert Garagiola introduced the measure and stressed that religious institutions would not be required to recognize these relationships:
GARAGIOLA: Under the terms of the Act, an official of a religious institution or body who is authorized to solemnize marriages, may not be required to solemnize any marriage in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, or Article 36 of our Constitution. As amended, the bill also provides that a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit operated by one, may not be required to provide services accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs.
CBC News - Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan's highest court has ruled that marriage commissioners who are public servants cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples.
The decision by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal rejects two proposals from the provincial government that would allow some or all marriage commissioners to refuse to perform a service involving gay or lesbian partners if it offended their religious beliefs.
The government proposed that marriage commissioners who were employed before the law changed in 2004 could refuse to perform the services. It also proposed a second option where all marriage commissioners could refuse.
The court of appeal said the proposals were "contrary to fundamental principles of equality in a democratic society" and rejected both options.
"Both of the possible amendments offend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Either of them, if enacted, would violate the equality rights of gay and lesbian individuals," the court said in the 74-page ruling.
The Greenest Way to Die - Resomation? By Katherine Butler, Want to go green in death? Here’s a process that may allow you to do just that. Resomation involves an alkaline hydrolysis process that dissolves a body into both a liquid and a powdery white mass. Experts call it the green alternative to cremation, which notoriously releases nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.
The process is legal in several U.S. states, and one undertaker wants to bring it to Belgium. But as American Public Media Marketplace reports, resomation is being met with some trepidation in Europe. The process, which emits none of the toxic carbon ash common with crematoriums, uses much less energy than other death preparation practices. It is a zero-emissions process. The body is placed in a bag and lowered into a Resomator. The Resomator is filled with water and potassium hydroxide, which is heated to around 160 degrees Celsius. The result is a greenish, DNA-free liquid and a powdery mass of white bone. In the United States, it is a common way to dispose of bodies donated to medical science.
Now Belgian undertaker Bruno Quirijnen wants to bring the process, which was developed by a Scottish firm, to Antwerp. Quirijnen hopes city official will approve the process. As he told American Public Media, ”People don’t like to have chimneys in their back yard. So with resomation, you don’t have that problem. It’s very natural and it’s more eco-friendly.”
But not everyone sees resomation as a viable solution for their post-mortem existence on Earth. Many everyday citizens are completely opposed to the idea of dissolving their body after death
Funeral homes subsidizing services for the poor - thestar.com
Always a problem, even for Mozart... many cities are skimping on charity burials. Consider your location burial society as an alternative, and a Humanist funeral...
Local funeral homes say they can no longer afford to spend millions a year subsidizing dignified farewells for the poorest Torontonians.
They are preparing to lobby city hall for a raise in the $2,208.88 “paupers’ funeral” subsidy, arguing it is now so outstripped by costs that the private businesses have become part of the cradle-to-grave social safety net.
There were 1,600 subsidized funerals across Toronto last year and only a handful were spare affairs for those unidentified or with no next of kin. Most — available to people on social assistance or provincial disability benefits — included full rites with visitation, service and motorcade.
Toronto & District Funeral Directors, in a report to councillors, says each of those funerals cost almost $5,500 to provide. Collectively, voluntarily accepting them costs its members between $1.8 million and $3.9 million each year, the association says.
“These small businesses can no longer afford to subsidize the cost of social service funerals,” and the problem is province-wide, states the report, obtained by the Star.
The association isn’t threatening a boycott like the one staged last year by legal aid lawyers.
But if the subsidy — set by municipalities but funded 80 per cent by the province — doesn’t rise, the association says members will have no choice but to consider stripped-down services, possibly with no visitation, services at graveside or crematorium rather than in a chapel, and fewer cars or no motorcade altogether.
“We have always provided those funerals at a loss, but the gap wasn’t so big and we didn’t do as many,” said Jim Cardinal, owner of Cardinal Funeral Homes. He calculated that his business alone loses $100,000 annually providing about 50 such funerals.
Argentina legalizes gay marriage
BUENOS AIRES (AFP) – Argentina on Thursday became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following a landmark Senate vote carried live on national television.
The law, backed by the center-left government of President Cristina Kirchner, was adopted in a 33-27 vote after 15 hours of debate. In this majority Roman Catholic country, some had reservations, but the law passed.
"It is a historic day," said ruling party leader Miguel Pichetto. Opposition Radical senator Gerardo Morales said Argentine society has changed, stressing that the bill was aimed at guaranteeing the rights of minorities.
Hundreds of people outside Congress cheered when the bill passed. Some chanted "Equality, Equality." Some tearful couples embraced.
Spain to get church for same-sex marriages
MADRID — Spain, which has become a world leader in gay rights in recent years, is to get its first gay Christian church to celebrate marriages between same-sex couples, a news report said Sunday.
The US-based Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) is to open a congregation in Madrid in October, the daily El Mundo said. On its website, MCC said it was founded California in 1968 as "the world's first church group with a primary, positive ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons." It now claims 43,000 members in 300 congregations in 22 countries.
El Mundo said a lesbian couple, both Spaniards living in Canada, have come to Madrid to register an MCC congregation with the justice ministry which they expect to open in October.
Labels: same sex wedding
The blood diamond is making a comeback
JOHANNESBURG, 30 June 2010 (IRIN) - Reform of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is becoming more urgent as controversy over Zimbabwe's diamond sales pushes the international initiative designed to stem the flow of conflict diamonds towards paralysis. At the KPCS meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 21-24 June, Zimbabwe dominated proceedings, and delegates were given a rude reminder of the growing disillusionment when diamond business magnate Martin Rapaport embarked on a three-day hunger strike to protest against "corrupt governments [that] have turned the KP on its head; instead of eliminating human rights violations the KP is legitimizing them".
Eli Izhakoff, president of the World Diamond Council (WDC), acknowledged that decision-making by consensus had "played a role in maintaining the KP coalition, but it also has created a situation in which one participant has the power to block progress without even having to declare the reason for doing so".
He suggested amending the decision-making process, and that a two-thirds or 75 percent majority might be "a viable solution". The WDC also announced that an unprecedented mini-summit would be held at its July 2010 annual meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, to try to break the Zimbabwe impasse.
The KPCS, formed in 2002, meets twice a year, bringing together governments, the diamond industry and NGOs to police the trade in “blood diamonds”. Its 49 members represent 75 countries, covering about 99.8 percent of global production. More than a year of wrangling over whether Zimbabwe has or has not met the scheme's minimum requirements has produced deadlock rather than resolution, with attention focused on alleged human rights violations by the Zimbabwean army against civilians in the 66,000ha Marange diamond fields, said to be among the world's richest.
Annie Dunnebacke, a campaigner for Global Witness, a UK-based NGO that was among the prime movers in the creation of the KPCS, told IRIN that civil society had been calling for reforms of the certification system, including an overhaul of the decision-making process.
Two 'gay' male penguins have hatched an egg and are rearing the adopted chick.
The birds, at Bremerhaven Zoo in northern Germany, were given an egg rejected by its biological parents. Named 'Z' and 'Vielpunkt', the penguins became famous when they refused to separate or to mate with females.
Joachim Schoene, a zoo vet, said; 'Another pair abandoned an egg by pushing it out of their nest and so we placed it in the care of the homosexual penguins. They accepted the egg immediately and took turns in incubating it with their body heat. They did this for 35 days and the baby was born on April 25.
'It is in a little cave in the enclosure which is fiercely guarded by one or the other at all times - so we don't know yet if we have a little boy penguin or a little girl one.' The two daddies feed their offspring with fish mash that they chew up and regurgitate into its ever-open beak
Bremerhaven Zoo in northern Germany made headlines in 2005 as it investigated homosexual traits in penguins. Gay rights activists were outraged after the zoo flew in female penguins to try to get them to reproduce with three pairs of male penguins who had been seen trying to mate with one another and hatch chicks from stones.
But now the zoo has relented, leaving the six gay penguins to live happily with their chosen mates - Z and Vielpunkt among them.
No Gay Marriage, But Domestic Partners Now Get Ceremonies In NYC
NEW YORK — Gelixa Ortiz and Elizabeth Rivera waited years for the chance to formally join their lives and declare their union in front of their loved ones. On Friday, they had their moment as one of New York City's first couples to have an official domestic partner ceremony.
Rivera, wearing a knee-length white slip dress with dark brown beading at the neckline, and Ortiz, in a chocolate brown sleeveless top and pants, exchanged rings and made their 10-year relationship an official domestic partnership in a ceremony conducted by New York City's clerk, Michael McSweeney.
"By the authority vested in me in accordance of the rules of the city of New York, I now formally pronounce you domestic partners," McSweeney said, as 13 guests looked on, some in tears.
New York City has allowed couples to register as domestic partners since 1993, but it wasn't until this week that the city began granting them the option of a ceremony at the clerk's office. It's the same as what they offer couples who are legally marrying, and the cost is $25.
The domestic partner ceremony does not carry with it any additional legal benefits, and gay marriage still is not legal in New York state.
Perhaps because the new policy at the city clerk's office is ceremonial only, the city has seen few couples take advantage of the offer.The change took effect Thursday, and on the first day just three couples had ceremonies. On Friday, there were just two more.
In 2009, 5,500 couples registered as domestic partners in New York City.
Portugal ratifies gay marriage law
Portugal's conservative president said he is reluctantly ratifying a law allowing gay marriage, making the predominantly Roman Catholic country the sixth in Europe to let same-sex couples wed.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he would not veto the bill because majority liberal politicians would only overturn his decision...He said he was setting aside his "personal convictions," though he did not elaborate and did not take reporters' questions.
The country's parliament passed the Socialist government-backed bill in January, with the support of all of Portugal's left-of-centre parties, who together have a majority. Right-of-centre parties opposed the measure and demanded a national referendum.
Elsewhere in Europe, gay marriage is permitted in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. As well, five US states and Washington, DC, legalised same-sex marriage, as have Canada and South Africa.
In a move hailed as a step toward fairness for same-sex couples, President Barack Obama is ordering that nearly all hospitals allow patients to say who has visitation rights and who can help make medical decisions, including gay and lesbian partners.
The White House on Thursday released a statement by Obama instructing his Health and Human Services secretary to draft rules requiring hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments to grant all patients the right to designate people who can visit and consult with them at crucial moments.
The designated visitors should have the same rights that immediate family members now enjoy, Obama's instructions said. It said Medicare-Medicaid hospitals, which include most of the nation's facilities, may not deny visitation and consultation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Equally Wed US only. (or you could all just come up to Canada, you know :-) Nice fun articles, including suit-fitting for women. Not much political discussion as yet, more focus on style and honeymoons.
We all welcome babies, and we all have a responsibility to make their world a safe and welcoming one. Here are a few excepts from a ceremony we're going to perform on Saturday - may all the world's children have a name, and have a family, and have hope and peace.
"In welcoming and naming a child with this ceremony, we celebrate one of life’s continuing miracles, the birth of a human being and the continuation of humankind. We rejoice that this child has been born into the concern and care not only of her parents, but also of this gathering and community.
The phrase 'it takes a village to raise a child' is true. While the task of nurturing children belongs mainly to parents, it also belongs to all of you, family, friends and colleagues who are gathered here today.
Article 7 of the Convention on Children's Rights says:
1. "The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents". Not all children in the world enjoy this right today, so it is all the more important that you are here to recognize Elizabeth, and let her know that you care for her and her parents.
For you are representing the larger community in which this child will grow up. It is through you that she will come to know her community and her world. By your support, example and encouragement you have a part to play in the development of this child to her fullest potential.
We give the child a name in this ceremony, and by doing so we declare that the child is an individual, a unique and a separate person with a dignity and a life of her own.
A name once given will be associated forever with a face, a voice, a walk, a laugh and all the other idiosyncrasies our families and friends recognize that reflect this child’s individuality.
This child’s name will be spoken, whispered, shouted, cried, sung and written – thousands of times, impersonally and meaningfully – by family, friends, neighbors, school chums, teachers, doctors, colleagues, loves, strangers, and maybe by children and grandchildren. It will define her identity.
In every birth, blessed is the wonder.
In every creation, blessed is the new beginning.
In every child, blessed is life.
In every hope, blessed is the potential.
In every transition, blessed is the beginning.
In every existence, blessed are the possibilities.
In every love, blessed are the tears.
In every life, blessed is the love.
There are three names by which a person is called:
One which her father and mother call her,
And one which people call her,
And one which she earns for herself.
The best one of these is the one that she earns for herself.
In giving Elizabeth her name we declare that we will respect her as herself and give her the freedom to be herself. In naming and welcoming this child through a public ceremony, we declare that all of us are responsible for the care and development of all children. It is our task to give them our ideals and our hopes. It is our task to give them a world of peace and justice in which to grow.
Here before us are three symbols of life. The first is water, symbolizing the great stream of humanity flowing down to us from the past, and on whose vast currents each of us is carried. With this water we recognize you, Elizabeth Kathleen Sofia as part of the stream of humanity from generations past, as you are now, and all that you will become. May goodness, truth and honour go with you.
Elizabeth the names you are given are a symbol of your unique self. You are a never-to-be repeated person, whose life will ultimately be what you make it. You were created in love. As you become one who loves, you too will become a creator. To this end you are now named and dedicated.
The second symbol is the light of knowledge. We will now ask the parents and sponsors to light a candle, a symbol of the fire of knowledge within all of us. They will then light the Naming candle of ELIZABETH, saying 'We promise to do our best to light your path with knowledge and wisdom, that you may pass on the light of understanding in your own turn, to those who wait for you'.
For the third symbol, we give Elizabeth a flower - the beauty and freshness of life, and the meaning of this dedication. No flower grows alone, apart from sunshine and the rain, apart from the soil from which it grows. So, too, no child grows up alone, and all of you are here for this child, in all the seasons and the times of her days. We dedicate ourselves to the task of nourishing the beauty and freshness of this child and of all children.
In giving Elizabeth her name we declare that we will respect her as herself and give her the freedom to be herself. In naming and welcoming this child through a public ceremony, we declare that all of us are responsible for the care and development of all children. It is our task to give them our ideals and our hopes. It is our task to give them a world of peace and justice in which to grow."