In late December the United Nations General Assembly held a symbolic vote on a statement calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. France spearheaded the resolution, which was a 13 point declaration "to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention." The statement received 60 votes in support, mostly from Europe and South America. Opposing the resolution, were the United States, the Holy See, and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. At the time, the Bush administration couched its objection to the measure in legal technicalities.
Well, that was then. This is now: At the so-called "Durban Review Conference" on racism and xenophonia underway in Geneva, Europe again put forward language condemning “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation.” According to UN Watch, "The Czech Republic on behalf of the E.U., with the support of New Zealand, the United States, Colombia, Chili on behalf of the South American states, the Netherlands, Argentina and a few others, took the floor in support." The efforts to include language on discrimination based on sexual orientation ended up failing for lack of support from non-western countries. Still, it's relieving to see that the United States is now back on the side of the enlightened on this issue of basic human rights.
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Vermont Moves Closer to Legalizing Gay Marriage
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Nine years after becoming the first state to permit civil unions, Vermont moved a step toward legalizing gay marriage Friday.
A bill that would allow same-sex unions was introduced in the Legislature, causing a crowd of about several hundred supporters to gather at the Statehouse in celebration.
"This really is a great day and a part of moving forward to a time when all Vermont couples will be treated equally under our laws,"said a sponsor, Rep. Mark Larson.
A similar bill is expected to be introduced later in the state Senate.
The House legislation has 59 sponsors, none of them Republican, though some GOP lawmakers have said they'll vote for the bill, Larson said. "I know that there's broad support in the House," he said.
Labels: same sex wedding
Feb 2 is the Feast of St. Brigid (Secondary Patron of Ireland) and Lá Feabhra - the first day of Spring. Brigit, seen here as a 'female smith', was one of the great Triple Goddesses of the Celts. She appeared as Brigit to the Irish, Brigantia in Northern England, Bride in Scotland, and Brigandu in Brittany. Brigid also aids any woman about to be married or handfasted and the woman is called “bride” in her honor. The sun is unlucky on Feb 2, and the Irish look for foul weather on Imbolc/St Brigids, because good weather means that the hag goddess, Cailleach, is looking to gather a lot of fire wood, meaning that she knows winter will last a lot longer. This may be will the idea of the groundhog and his shadow comes from.
Feb 2 is also known as Candlemas, Imbolc, Oimelc, Brigid's Day, Groundhogs Day. It is a pre-agricultural solar festival and one of the four great Celtic Holidays, which are Feb 1 (Imbolc), May 1 (Beltaine), August 1 (Lammas/Lugnasad), Nov 1 (Samhain Or Halloween). These are "quarter days" - falling halfway between the Solstices and Equinoxes. Feb 1 is a "female fire festival", as Halloween is a 'male' fire festival. At a number of megalithic and neolithic sites in Ireland, the inner chamber of the passage tombs are perfectly aligned with the rising sun on both Imbolc and Samhain. Similar to the phenomena seen at Newgrange, the rising Imbolc sun shines down the long passageway and illuminates the inner chamber of the tomb.Imolc is a (pronounced "Im-melk") probably means "in milk" - meaning pregnant sheep will begin to lactate, as lambs will be born in March. As a former sheep-farmer, it makes perfect sense as a holiday marker, as those animals which survived the winter will produce new life, and the sun will come back, and we will survive another year. I well remember long cold winter nights when Richard slept in the barn with the lambing ewes, and how exciting it was in the darkness of winter when the new lambs arrived. It's too early for the cows to be in calf, and ewes milk is a fresh source of food (and cheese) in the dark winter.
Labels: St. Bride