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There are increasing movements forwards with legislative battles with our rights – a new trans bill in Canada, marriage equality in Britain, France and various parts of the US, municipal anti-discrimination laws in various cities and even a battle in the Ukraine which was rather surprising. Of course, it’s not all going forwards everywhere, far from it, but there’s a lot of excitement.

 There’s also a sense that “zomg we’ve nearly won” primarily from straight allies, coupled with a sense of “the GBLT rights movement has moved so quickly!”

 I have to burst the bubble on both. Starting, perversely with the second one.

 The whole idea of “the GBLT rights movement has moved so quickly” is based on that pervasive myth that we only appeared in 1960 and that the first piece of GBLT activism was Stonewall. Both of which are wrong. GBLT people have existed as long as people have existed – and we have been fighting for centuries. The first attempted same-sex marriage in the UK happened in 1680 and Molly houses were a fixture of the 19th century. France decriminalised “sodomy” after the revolution, Germany had, in the 1920s had a vast amount of pro-GBLT activism

 And this is from a frankly extremely amateur view of history since I make no claims of being a historian. But even the most cursory search finds not only our existence the earliest times but a centuries old battle against persecution. To call the GBLT rights movement a young or a new movement is to spit in the face of these people who fought – and who died – and who straight history has long forgotten. We have not moved quickly, it has been a long slow fight that has been denied so long that it’s only recent victories for basic LEGAL PROTECTIONS that have finally accelerated.

 Now addressing the first point. Winning these battles means we win the SIMPLE part – and not close to being done. The COMPLICATED is, in many ways, only just beginning.

 Firstly, let’s be clear that SIMPLE doesn’t mean EASY, nor does it mean UNIMPORTANT. It makes we know pretty much exactly what to do and, in many ways, how. I know how to walk to London. One foot in front of the other isn’t complex. Walking that distance in this weather would be arduous, painful and an incredible feat – Simple but difficult.

And achieving equality under law: Hate crimes protection, anti-discrimination protection, marriage equality – are extremely difficult, powerful achievements – and they’re simple. Simple because we know exactly what has to be done – the law has to change and we know how that is done. Difficult to do, but simple in terms of process

And important because these form not only essential tools, but also a foundation. It’s an impossibly powerful message of inequality when the laws treat us as lesser citizens; it’s a loud message. It’s hard to get people to listen to you demanding acceptance, respect and challenging hate when the law of the land is roaring “ACTUALLY! HATE THESE FOLKS! HATRED IS FINE! TOTALLY LESS THAN YOU! LESS CITIZENS! ACCEPTABLE TARGETS, GET THEM HERE!” It’s a foundation and without it, building anything is going to be shaky

 


But a house isn’t finished when a foundation is built and nor will our battle for equality be finished because we have full equality in law. Law and practice, society and culture are often very separate. If you need any greater proof just consider the fact that these legal rights we’re fighting for? Other marginalised groups already have them – and they’re still marginalised.

 On this foundation we need to fight institutional oppression. We need to change professions that are deemed to homophobic to tolerate us (or more than a few token members). We need to tackle bullying – adult as well as child. We need to tackle family acceptance and positive messages so more kids aren’t raised in self hate and familial rejection. We need to remove every single temptation to be closeted – not the closet, forcing us all to be Out is never right – but remove the motivation to being closeted in the first place. Conversion therapy needs to be banished into the past, the DESIRE to change needs to be seen as alien and weird. We need to remove the negative connotation, we need to banish slurs from the language, we need to have “gay” stop being a synonym for “bad.” We need inclusive portrayals, not be considered an afterthought or obscene, we need healthcare that acknowledges our needs, we need workplaces that have more than just policies, but co-workers and bosses and customers who won’t try to drive us out. Neighbourhoods that don’t blink to see us among them. We need a world were institutional cissexism and heterosexism doesn’t constantly fence us, drive us out or police us. We need religions that won’t preach homophobia and transphobia as morality. We need a world without hate, without contempt, without derision. We need so much more (this list went on so long I’ve had to delete huge chunks to keep it manageable), things we will not achieve by laws, things we cannot achieve by laws (but policies can certainly make a difference) but things that will rest on a foundation of those laws.

 We need a world where we are as loved and respected and accepted and included as straight, cis people. Only then will we have won

 And that? That’s going to take lifetime upon lifetime to build.

 This isn’t really something even the most optimistic of GBLT people need telling – we live our lives, we know what will and will not change, we know how we’re oppressed, we know how we’re attacked (in fact, straight people telling us what we should and should not be focusing on need to shut up, really, they do). But I’m increasingly getting the feeling that many allies are expecting to down tools and say “yay we won!” and then be really really shocked when we don’t stop fighting.

 So let’s celebrate the victories and progress we’ve made and are making – because they’re definitely worth celebrating – and then dive back in the trenches, because we’ve got a long war to right.

 


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As we get closer towards marriage equality vote more and more Tories are losing their shit in predictable ways – and among the predictable shit losing we expect from the bigots, there’s also a small crowd of “you’re going to damage our election chances!” Which really shows their moral priorities.

 But they are probably right. And wrong.

 See, in 2015? Yes, it probably will. There are probably a large amount of huffy bigots who will throw all their toys out of the pram because their hatred of gay people isn’t being backed up in law. They may stay home next election, or vote UKIP or BNP (who are still pandering to the Tory bigot vote) and damage the Tories already tenuous chances.

 At the same time, supporters of marriage equality are unlikely to turn out in force for the Tories because all three parties are supporting this. In fact, the only major opponents of this bill are the Tories themselves – it’s even possible, or likely, that the Tories won’t be able to pass this without overwhelming support from Labour and Lib Dems. And we’re not even debating their support – overwhelming support from Labour and the Lib Debs is expected. This is part of why it won’t help the Tories much – even with Tories being the ones to introduce the bill, they’re still the ones being dragged, kicking and screaming, while the Lib Dems and Labour are happily working with it. Worse, for the Tories, is that their MPs are constantly opening their mouths and saying some terrible things. Any attempts to big up their gay rights record next election can be hit by some truly horrible quotes. And, besides, too many of us are too aware of the Tories’ overall record to let one tick overwhelm a whole lot of crosses.

So, short term? Yes, I think they’re right.

 But long term? Not so much.

 See, I think we’re moving to a different era of homophobia in this country – and, perhaps, much of the west in general. It’s not going away or anything close to that – and it won’t in my lifetime or in the lifetime of my hypothetical grandchildren for that matter. But overt, stark homophobic bigotry is becoming less… favourable.

 That doesn’t mean it isn’t expressed. But it means you can’t just say “those dirty, filthy queers are attacking our children!” and not have at least a significant minority give you the side-eye.  Maybe not the majority and hate groups that express these views in these terms are still being given a powerful platform far too often, but certainly there’s sufficient disapproval of such overt hatred as to make people more cautious. Especially if they want national appeal.

 It doesn’t stop more coded bigotry, of course. And we all know and loathe plenty of mainstream politicians and public figures who are expert in coded language and dog whistles. Nor does it mean bigotry is substantially reducing – just looking at over isms where it’s no longer “polite” to openly use slurs or openly say “these people are less” and you can clearly see that the bigotry and societal prejudice is still going strong.

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So the first steps in marriage equality are finally being taken and it’s looking like we may get some action next year, here’s hoping. The Official response to the consultation is in and they’re currently batting it around Parliament. We do have a provision to allow religions to marry people if they so choose so finally actual religious freedom is guaranteed.

 Reports point to 100-130 Tory MPs opposing. Labour, for some bemusing reason, has U-Turned and is now holding a free vote along with the Tories rather than a whipped vote they previously promised. Gods forbid our rights be taken as the severe issues they are (and can we stop with this talk of “morality” and “conscience” being a bigot is neither moral nor conscionable). Still, there is likely to be considerably less no votes among Labour than the Tories so, along with the Lib Dems, we have a good chance of seeing this pass through the commons. ETA The Lib Dems have also u-turned and decided not to whip this vote. Fuck the lot of them. No party will be whipping this vote, our human rights aren't important enough.

 The Lords is going to be more tricky, I feel. Both because of the Lords Spiritual and the Lords, in general, just being less progressive than the Commons. But in theory there should be enough Labour and Lib Dem lords along with what Tory supporters there are among the Lords to pill it through.

 There’s a liveblog on the whole issue here: Be warned: there are a large number of Tories saying some rather vile things as can be expected.

 I’m getting really irritated at all the prating of religious freedom for the precious bigoted church – especially considering there was so much condemnation of their bigotry not that long ago.

I am bemused why, with the guarantee that bigoted churches can still be bigoted, there is any need to BAN the Church of England from performing same-sex marriages. They don't want to, they don't intend to - so why ban them? Why not leave them with the same opt-out as every other church? All this does is mean that, should at some point ion the future the Anglican church and its supporters decide that GBLTQ people are actually people worthy of respect, there'll be an extra barrier towards changing their bigotry.

Needless to say, I remain angry that we have an established church with all its privileges that continues to deny my humanity. Disestablish the bigots.

 

 The government’s official response to the consultation can be found here. It’s clear that the vast majority of the opposition was religious in nature, confirming again that the majority organised churches of Great Britain are grossly homophobic and we need to continue to view them as enemies of our humanity, our rights and of justice for the foreseeable future.

 On annulment – we will not be able to “annul” our marriages due to non-consummation simply because the whole concept of consummation is ridiculously heterosexist and revolves around a very limited definition of sex. Faced with this, the government has just ticked a big “not applicable” box and, to be honest, I don’t blame them – though I would have preferred it if “non-consumation” were just struck from the law entirely as the archaic relic it is.

 I do NOT approve of leaving the adultery law where it is. Adultery only counts, again, when penis-in-vagina-sex occurs. Sure you can still get a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, but deciding only het-sex counts for adultery is insulting and insufficient. To be honest, just scrapping adultery entirely and going with “unreasonable behaviour” for all would suit me better

 The inequality of pensions is also not something I approve of – wives and widows will still have greater access to their partner’s pension benefits than husbands and widowers. We have some nebulous assurance of that changing – but it is still nebulous. Similarly, homophobic discrimination in occupational pensions is not being retroactively corrected so will continue as it is. The idea that this would create “retroactive costs” is failing to acknowledge that it would correct old injustice

 Similarly, I am irritated by the protection for teacher’s “beliefs”. It is not a teacher’s place to teach their beliefs to children, their job is to teach how things are. And how things will be is marriage will be legal – we don’t need to protect a teacher’s editorialising by adding “of course this is wrong and sinful.” Or at least, not if the same teachers aren’t also protected from saying “but it may not be recognised by archaic, bigoted and immoral institutions that insist on dehumanising humanity that continues to cause so much pain and suffering”

 Yes, I am beyond irritated that 52% of the respondents to the consultation were straight. I feel, again, that my rights and humanity has been put into straight people’s hands and had to be validated by straight folks before they could be acknowledged.

 At this stage I almost don’t dare to hope. There’s still so much that could derail the process and the opposition is very fierce, very unreasonable and stunning in how hateful it is. But there’s a path now – it’s not going to be pleasant to walk, the religious groups and Tory homophobes are screaming utter venom, but they have been for a months If not years. Still we’re on the path and maybe, just maybe the end is in sight.

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Cameron has decided that the marriage equality vote, when it happens (if it happens, since the Tory Chief Whip seems to think it’ll never come up for a vote), will be a free vote for the Tories.

That means he won’t be putting out the Whip. Or, every tory is free to vote how they wish without pressure from the party. This is because it’s a matter of “conscience”.

No, Davey boy, it’s a matter of rights. You lose major points there in deciding our rights are a matter for personal conscience. We are due equality, equality is about our status as full citizens. It is not a matter of “conscience” excepting only that denying us rights is unconscionable.

This does not hint at Tory support for our rights. This does not point to the Tories caring about our rights. This does not show the Tories as thinking our rights are important.

And shall we make a prediction? Looking at your party, I still see marriage equality passing – because the Labour, Lib Dems, and sufficient defector Tories will vote for it. But what kind of PR/Gay rights/we’re not homophobes victory is that?

All 3 parties said they’d back marriage equality – but only the Tories (and the coalition mini-mes who re obedient little tools) decided a consultation was needed.


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The Cost

May. 9th, 2012 11:27 am
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When I first saw this video on Monday it took me several tries to watch it through - and it/I wasn't pretty by the time it finished. On Tuesday I tweeted it but couldn't really do much more. I still don't really have words for this, the horror of it, the pain of it.

I did email it to my parents though, under the subject "Don't".
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So, after literally years of putting it off, delays and dodges, we finally have the consultation on marriage equality! Yes it’s actually here! It could actually happen.

The consultation is here. Ye gods please go and consult and don’t let it be filled with arseholes.

And, yes, I’m squeeing because ye gods I want this, I really want this extremely badly even though there are problems. I want this, we need this. We need to end this law that says we are inherently lesser, we need to replace this law that enshrines religious bigotry. We need to be equal and at least pretend to be recognised as such!

Go, consult! Consult my winged monkeys!


Ok, reluctantly putting the squee aside for a moment, let us point out some… problems.

First of all the very fact we’re having a consultation is ridiculous. What is there to consult about? If you’re committed to bringing about marriage equality then DO IT. You don’t need to ask “how” to do it – just make marriage open to all couples regardless of gender. Why does this need a consultation?

Secondly, if this is a consultation on HOW to implement marriage equality, why is the first question “Do you agree or disagree that all couples, regardless of their gender, should be able to have a civil marriage ceremony?”

I thought this was about HOW to implement it, not WHETHER to implement it? If marriage equality is a done deal, why are we asking whether people agree with it or not?

Thirdly, this consultation is for Civil Marriage only. That means that even if your religion WANTS to perform a marriage between 2 people of the same sex, they can’t. Religious buildings and religious practices are completely banned for marriages between people of the same-sex. All religious practices. The Christians’ freedom of religion means they have to dictate the religious practices of other faiths. So scrap that “we need to replace this law that enshrines religious bigotry” because we’re still doing it! For crying out loud, we’re going to have to fight for a new law even AFTER marriage equality is passed!

Fourthly, there are apparently a number of issues that the consultation says will require further analysis depending on the outcome of this consultation. Including but not limited to:

• state pensions
• survivor benefits in occupation pension schemes
• administrative processes for marriage and civil partnership


WHY would these need more analysis? Why would my pension rights not be exactly the same as a straight married couple. What, seriously, you’re going to have marriage equality but have DIFFERENT RULES for same-sex couples? And why will it depend on the outcome of this consultation?

I’m getting a horrible feeling we’re going to need ANOTHER marriage equality law after this marriage equality law to actually achieve marriage equality.

Wow, I’ve totally killed my own squee now.

In other squee killing news – dear media, stop showing your straight, scabby backsides.

Firstly, it’s “marriage equality” not “gay marriage.” Our marriages are no different from the marriages of straight people, stop acting like it’s something weird

Secondly, I’m sick of seeing bigots being presented in the name of bloody “balance”. I’m really really really sick of it. I can’t open a newspaper or turn on the TV without some bigot telling me I’m not deserving of equality and some reporter acting like this is reasonable.

Thirdly, do your job and CHALLENGE the hatred from the clergy. It’s highly doubtful you would have allowed these bigots to get away with this level of hate speech in regards to other people’s human rights. And why are you letting them present this as a religious freedom issue

Seriously, we have Archbigot Rowan Williams instantly deciding we’re unworthy, Archbigot Sentamu saying giving us equality is akin to the actions of a dictator, Archbigot Nicols of Westminster saying our loves are just friendships and that we’re “annexing” marriage. Archbigot Lord Carey calls our love “vandalism” Cardinal Super-Bigot O’Brien compared our marriages to slavery. And don’t even get me started on the Tory MPs.

This is hate speech and the media is giving it a platform – it’s intolerable, unacceptable and there’s no way it would pass if they were talking about another religion, so why does it go through when talking about us?
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Or domestic partnered *eye roll*. Yes this is another question that came out of family mixing from an unmarried (yet partnered) cousin who doesn’t know why I bothered. But it’s come up a lot from various people over the years.

Of course, the sad thing was, as ever, the blinkers of privilege; she could have just looked round and seen the reason for herself. She would have seen how the whole family treated her relationship of 11 months as a long term partnership – but still acted like my decades long marriage was a temporary fling, a passing insanity, something I’d grow out of or all about sex. I have done everything legally possible in the UK to make my relationship “official” and I still have to fight to have it recognised even by my own family. Let alone official institutions, work colleagues or the public at large.

See, this is one of the things that irritates me when straight folk don’t understand the fuss about marriage. They can take the protections, legal rights and status of marriage for granted because they not only have them – but they don’t always need them either. Even for non-married straight folks, our society provides a level of respect and legitimacy for heterosexual pairings.

Or, to be overly simplistic, even when you aren’t married, society will often infer some level of married-ness upon you. Because straight couples are not just the norm but also the ideal, they are granted legitimacy AS couples. As a family lawyer, I have seen straight unmarried couples have more recognition and support for their relationship – or dissolving their relationship – than I have not just for unmarried GBLT couples but also for domestic partnered GBLT couples. Every shred of respect, of officialdom, of any kind of recognition I have seen for my relationship – or any relationship between GBLT people with the same-sex – had to be fought tooth and nail for and even then that’s often not enough.

Our relationships are not given the same recognition, status or protection as straight couples.

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So, a while back, at the beginning of the year Labour and the Lib Dems had both endorsed marriage equality. The Tories were noted for their silence and the pressure was laid on. Surprisingly, people considered them to be bigots (I wonder why!?)

Faced with increasing pressure and just how obviously bigoted they were, the Tory government buckled in February and announced that they would have a consultation this summer on the whole subject of marriage equality.

That's summer 2011, by the way. In case that wasn't clear. It didn't earn them much praise since the Tories were basically consulting for something the other parties had already said yes to. Yes, the Tories were doing a delaying tactic, it was obvious and no-one really fell for it. But we were going to get a consultation in June. June 2011

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As in, the gays can't get married because we don't make babbies! And they're not a homophobe, they're just thinking of the babbies (can we have "think of the children” added to the list of ridiculous phrases that automatically get you labelled homophobes – like “I have gay friends?”)

Ok, my first and last post on this particular fuckery, because it's beyond self-evident and anyone with a moment's thought and half a brain cell in their heads should be able to work this out



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New York has voted in favour of marriage equality.

Another step forward and some more families that will not be ignored. Families will get the legal protections and rights that are are so commonly enjoyed by so many striaght people. Many families will be spared untold irritations, annoyances and grief that come from lack of these essential protections. And it's another step forward to greater societal recognition that our loves, our unions, our families have value and are due respect.


And more. One of the things I always say about any right that is granted is it is far more than the right itself. Yes marriage rights are important in and of themselves, yes this will be wonderful for so many families and yes, on that grounds alone it's worth dancing for joy

But it's more, far more than the right itself.


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Tory MP and bigot (but then, the two do tend to go together to such a degree as to make that a redundancy), Edward Leigh is looking at all the talk about marriage equality and has lost his little bigot head over it.

He doesn’t understand why we need marriage equality because only a tiny minority of us gays wants it. Well, that kind of conflicts with Pink News polls and I do wonder why he thinks he knows the mind of gay people up and down the country. After all, this is a man with one of the most stinking records on anti-gay legislation there is – I can’t imagine he has a legion of gay friends. (And if he does pull the “I have a gay friend” card I am going to break something). Who is this straight man who presumes to speak for us?

But, y’know what? Even if only a few of us same-sex loving types wants to get married – we should be able to do so. If only a quarter of a minority wanted the vote it wouldn’t be an excuse to deny the whole group the right! Access to a right is not dependent on sufficient number wanting to exercise it. There are inordinate number of religions with a tiny following in the UK, we can’t stomp on their rights because we decide there just aren’t enough of them to make it worthwhile – this stinks of the same bullshit muttered around that damn ONS farce.
And you know what? It doesn’t matter if only one single gay person in the entire country wanted to get married and he couldn’t because no-one wanted to marry him. The law STILL needs changing

Because when you have a law that has a two tier system for marginalised people then you are legally enshrining inferiority in law. Even if I didn’t want to get married I would want this law changed – because as it stands the law of Great Britain says I am an inferior person. Under law, I am a lesser person. Legally, I am not due the same rights and considerations as straight people.

Let me say that again – my lesser status as a citizen is currently enshrined in law.

And that bothers me. It bothers me that the highest authority in the country has officially declared my inferiority, my unworthiness, my lesser status. And don’t tell em that doesn’t have an effect on how we are treated, how we are viewed or how we view ourselves – you can’t legally impose inferior status without there being repercussions

I want to be equal before the law in all instances. I have and had no intention of joining the military, but I wanted the anti-gay military ban dropped. I have no immediate plans to have children, but I refuse to accept different standards for us in the adoption system. I hate Bed and Breakfasts and would rather eat my own foot than stay in one – but that doesn’t mean I’m indifferent about the spate of bigoted hoteliers turning us away.
Because these things mean something above and beyond the specific right they are protecting,. They are statements of equality, of worth and of value and respect due.

And as for the rest of his screed? – well standard bigot talk. “Mangling marriage.” “Redefining what marriages mean” really? I thought marriages meant people loving each other – I wonder what HIS marriage means if it’s not about love? (Of course the whole love thing is a very recent definition of marriage which *gasp* has been redefined quite a lot).

I wonder if Cameron will reprimand him for being a bigot? I doubt it.

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News reports have come out to all and sundry that apparently we’re going to get gay marriage at last over here!

I blinked in shock because, damn that was a bit out of the blue!

Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be quite the case, we’re dealing with some sloppy reporting. To understand this, you need to look at civil partnerships – that not-really-marriage-because-you-homos-aren’t-good-enough-for-it provision.

One of the interesting provisos of civil partnerships is that religion is banned from them. You can’t use a religious building, can’t have a preacher, can’t have religious readings. Religion is verboten!

And this INCLUDES if the religion in question WANTS to be involved. So if you’re, say, a Quaker or a Reform Jew (two groups that have been most irritated by this law) you cannot have a religious civil union EVEN IF YOUR CHURCHES WANT TO.

This is, of course, a rule in the name of religious freedom. And by religious freedom we mean stinking bigotry.

Now we’re looking at removing the restriction. NOT forcing churches to include us, oh-no. But allowing those churches that DO want to bless our unions to do so.

This change was originally put forward by the last government, though it faced fierce and vehement Tory opposition. It’s actually part of the Labour made Equality Act and an Amendment pushed by a Labour peer. We were actually furious with Harriet Harmen for caving to the Tories over this when their opposition was so fierce.
And Lyn Featherstone – the figleaf and supporter of Theresa May, the woman who already hand waved away all our legal protections and is one of the reasons why I would never return to the Lib Dems – seems to be trying to claim credit for this? Really? They’re going to claim this as a coalition victory for our rights? What a manipulative, disgusting prejudiced move – and I expect no better form her or her government.

That’s even weaker than claiming that the convictions of gay men who were convicted for having sex when our existence was criminalised. Because they’re not – they’re counted as “spent.” They’re still there, they’re still viewable.

And to add to this post

BBC FOR FUCK’S SAKE! Stop presenting our basic human rights as a matter for fucking debate! Enough already! Why the hell do I pay this license fee again? So beyond sick of this shit.

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Proposition 8 – it has been overturned.  And Judge  Walker’s ruling, from what I’ve read of it, is a thing of beauty. Yes yes it is.

The singing, dancing and general leaping for joy in my RSS is a thing of joy to behold.

Naturally it will be appealed – but in that lies some hope itself. A beautiful step forwards – keep on hoping.

Let the partying commence!

And review again why the trial was almost comedic Such a wonderful summation

In fact, let’s have more of that :)

Hmmm sweet sweet schaudenfreude. Where’s that pie recipe? Nom nom schadenfreude pie.

In Mexico, Mexico City’s gay marriage law was also being challenged in court – and it reached all the way to Mexico’s Supreme Court.

Which upheld the law Oh I love the smell of justice in the morning.

Justicia has been smacking ‘em down lately :)

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Despite considerable opposition from the Catholic church (that think equality for gay people is ‘satanic’) and even the American Mormons trying to intervene, Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to legalise same sex marriage! Congratulations and celebrations :) Another step forward, some more justice realised.

Congratulations to all the people in Argentina who can now get married – may you all be blissfully happy together.

In Atlanta, the police have set up  an LGBT advisory board

And in the UK we have a set of instructions of what language the police are supposed to use and not use when dealing with GBLT people

Words cannot express how important these are. I don’t like the police. Part of that is because I am a defence lawyer and have seen far too much shit come from the police to be comfortable.

And part of it is that my interactions with the police have been fraught. The first time I reported being attacked to the police was awful. I was asked if I’d flirted with my attacked, if I’d touched him, if I’d come on to him, I was even asked what I was wearing. I heard them make jokes. I heard the comments. I regretted, strongly, reporting to the police at all – the case quickly went nowhere, in no small part because I didn’t want anything to do with them any more.

It’s not an isolated case. Even when not actively homophobic, cluelessness abounds in heteronormative society in general and certainly in the police force. If we need the protection of law – and we so often do – then we need to law to have a clue. We need to be able to trust the law – we need the law not to make things worse for us and to hurt us more.

We’re a long way from that – but steps in the right direction matter

Facebook is planning on adding a button for UK teens on their site to allow reporting and help with cyberbullying. It’s not much but it’s something especially since bullying – and anti-gay bullying – is so toxic and destructive.

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Well, unexpected and well worth celebrating. After celebrating what the UK Supreme Court did for gay asylum seekers, we see another court in the US give a wonderful surprise by declaring DOMA unconstitutional. Not once, but twice..

Both judges came to their decision through summary judgment (which is legal speak for the judge picking up the case and saying “this is such utter bullshit I don’t even have to listen to you to make my decision!”)

This judgments AREN’T saying that all states have to allow same sex marriage (sadly).

But they are saying that the Federal government can’t refuse to accept couples that have been married under state law. So, for example, if a gay couple has been married in Massachusetts, the federal government has no business turning round and saying “no, they’re not really married.” I understand this is a 10th Amendment issue (don’t ask me, American law is not my thing but I understand this is the Amendment that says “unless it‘s expressly states to be the Federal government‘s decision, it‘s the state‘s decision.”). So the federal government cannot treat a legal same-sex marriage from a state that legalises same-sex marriage as anything less than a marriage and cannot force the state itself to treat same-sex marriages as less than opposite-sex marriage. It cannot force the state to discriminate.

Of interest as well in the fuller details of the case is the many other things the judges didn’t accept such as refusing to accept that banning same-sex marriage benefits children, that allowing same-sex marriage serves as a disincentive to marry, etc.

‘Tis a step in the right direction, yes yes it is :)

In other legal victory news, the island of Sark (that is one of the semi-autonomous British dependent islands around the British Isles) has finally bought a clue and equalised the age of consent for gay and bisexual men to 16 to bring it in line with heterosexuals, lesbians and bisexual women.  This follows Guernsey doing the same in March and the Isle of Mann catching up in 2006 (but then, the Isle of Mann still had sodomy laws in place in 1992). Well, islands, welcome to the 21st century. Took you long enough.

Sadly other British dependencies – Bermuda, Alderney and Gibraltar – still seem to be maintaining separate age of consent for gay and bisexual men.

sparkindarkness: (STD)

Iceland has full gay marriage – marriage that passed unanimously – That’s they way it should be done.
And The Prime Minister of Iceland has married her partner.

This joins Portugal that also legalised same sex-marriage in June. Another celebration, it is deeply heartening to se. It doesn’t allow us to adopt – but it’s another step forward.

Ireland has passed civil partnership. It’s not perfect, certainly not equal or time to stop – but it is definitely something to celebrate, especially in such a deeply Catholic country. It joins a growing list of countries that are recognising at least our partial equality

And in New York, we have some of the semi-marriage rights and expectations. Businesses are now required to provide bereavement benefits to surviving same-sex partners. It’s kind of sad that has to be even pushed.

On the bad side

Despite being much much much better than her predecessor, Julia Gillard, the new PM of Australia, does not believe in gay equality – and is against gays being able to marry

In the UK we are seeing many more gay men entering into marriage – the forced kind. With a woman. Fearing their sons are gay, they are being forced into heterosexual marriages (oh how much purer het marriages are than our own, right?) and gods alone know how much unhappiness.

In Wisconsin, the state supreme court has ruled 7-0 to uphold the gay marriage ban. Not one dissenting vote against bigotry.

And In New Hampshire the GOP candidate is keeping up with his fellow homophobes – and comparing gay marriage to bestiality

sparkindarkness: (STD)

Time to get back into the swing of things with a blast of good news.

We need this, we spend – and I certainly spend – far too much time seeing the bad. And we have to see the bad – we truly do have to see the bad so we can combat it, we can work against it and we can see how awful things still are and where the attacks are still coming from. It’s vital we do not turn our back on this suffering, it’s vital we don’t pretend this isn’t happening

But at the same time it’s soul destroying. It’s painful to see the bad stuff every day without reminding ourselves there are victories as well. Sometimes it’s necessary to remind ourselves we are winning this, slowly but surely we are winning.

Mayor of Turin, Italy symbolically marries a Lesbian couple. Yes it’s not legal, but this man is an ally and trying. Respect due.

While the Atlanta gay bar police raid is a complete trainwreck and justice seems to be the last thing on the police’s mind, at least the Atlanta City Council seems interested in pursuing justice.

Mexico City makes both gay marriage AND gay adoption legal. Our families have value and are due respect, it is always a joy to see them honoured as such. It is especially a joy to see this step forward in a country that is so religious. Congratulations to the new marriages that will follow.

There has been a second gay marriage in Argentina. Step by step, moving forwards :)

In a ruling that could have massive effect across Europe – the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that you cannot discriminate against gay couples ruling that Poland could not treat an unmarried homosexual couple any worse than an unmarried heterosexual couple. While it certainly doesn’t open the door to gay marriage – it does strike a strong blow against homophobia, homophobic discrimination and homophobic family discrimination across all the nations that have signed up to the ECHR. This could be big.

In Western Australia 2 trans men have won a major case forcing recognition of their true gender without having to have organs that allow them to bear children removed. A step forwards – not perfect but still a step forwards.

Gay Marriage and Gay adoption laws pass the first round of hearing in Slovenia’s Parliament *Hopes* let this be another step

After a long battle and much flouncing from the religious right, withdrawl of charity services and almost legendary flouncing by the oh-so-loving Catholic church and even a last minute run to the Supreme Court to try and stop it – gay marriage is legal in Washinton DC.  Congratulations all you loving new spouses.

Though Maryland will not perform same-sex marriages – they have moved a step in the right direction by recognising same-sex marriages that occur in other states. Another step forwards :) Every step counts.

And closer to home – the House of Lords has backed removing the prohibition against religious wording and religious buildings being used for gay ceremonies. Good – as I’ve said before, why should Christians dictate MY religious choices? Naturally the Anglican church is huffing at people daring not to submit to their religious dictates. Now if the parties involved and the religions involved WISH to include religion in their same-sex union, they may do so.

And in the relief section of the news – 2 desperate attempts to gut the Equality bill in the House of Lords have been stopped – both of which would have allowed religious based discrimination and bigotry to be allowed even outside of churches. This would have rendered all the homophobic elements of the Equality Act completely and utter unenforceable – anyone claiming a religious basis to their hatred could discriminate freely. I find myself in near complete agreement with Baroness Murphy when she said “I do not doubt that that is not the intention of my noble and learned friend Lady Butler-Sloss, but these amendments are deeply, offensively, homophobic.” I disagree in that I do not think Lady Butler-Sloss is noble and I don’t have any doubt at all that she is a homophobe.

There are good things – we could all do to remember it when faced with all the bad

sparkindarkness: (Default)
I think the forces of bigotry have great trouble understanding the very concept of government imposing on your faith - so let’s have a nice look at some good examples and bad examples.

Some bad examples

The government trying to stop religious organisations being bigoted in their hiring practices for non-clerical workers. It is not religious oppression. These aren’t even religious posts - seriously, your faith requires your janitor and secretary to be straight and cis gendered?! House of Lords, Archbiship of York - this isn’t about your religious freedom - this is about your hatred and bigotry trying to attack and hurt us as per usual. But of course, the chuch - while remaining silent and wishy washy on issues of life and death like Uganda passing kill-gays legislation is always quick and vocal when it comes to oppressing homosexuals.

Ann Widecome, always a poster child for homophobic bigotry believes that equality laws that protect GBLT people from persecution are oppressing Christians. Because not inciting violence against us is oppressive. Because not being able to fire us or exclude us from employment is oppressive. Because us having legal rights is oppressive.

It is not religious oppression to expect you to treat fellow human beings with respect. It is disgusting that this has to be said and that these organisations make any claim to be ‘moral’ institutions.


Now for some good examples of the right to religion being oppressed

Gay couples forbidden from solemnising their relationships in Oklahoma. Note here that Oklahoma already bans gay marriage - so we’re talking about a religious commitment ceremony as opposed to a legally recognised relationship. But no, if the couple agrees, the religious leader agrees, even the actual faith agrees, it’s a criminal act for a cleric to solemnise a same sex union.

What about their religious choices? What about their faith? What about their right to religion?


Or in the UK, where were are finally looking at changing the enforced anti-religion element of the almost-but-not-really-marriage-like-civil-partnership. See, I have one of these (though, frankly I will call myself married because I refuse to not use the word because some bigots decide I am not worthy of it). I’m also a religious man - but I was barred by freaking law from including my faith in my wedding. I had 2 ceremonies because, legally, a civil partnership ceremony cannot be held on religious ground and cannot include religious elements (pfft, not that the registrar recognised my religious elements :P). Where are my religious rights there? Where is my right to religious expression? Why is my faith forced to conform to a bigoted standard?

This change is being proposed because many religious groups are complaining because their religion is being dictated to by this discriminatory provision

It just goes to show - it’s not now and never has been about religious rights. It’s about hatred and bigotry, pure and simple.

Go Hawaii!

Jan. 23rd, 2010 01:00 pm
sparkindarkness: (Default)
Hawaii senate has voted a step close in favour of marriage equality

It's civil unions, not full equality but it's a step closer to being treated like full citizens. And it's veto proof :)
sparkindarkness: (Default)
We can has gay marriage in Portugal! yes, yes we can has which, considering it's a largely Catholic country, is quite surprising. The Catholic church in Portugal apparently decided it was a civil matter and really not their business *boggle* who are you and what did you do with the real Catholic church? That almost sounded like... reasonableness... Better be careful with that, ther Pope may explode if exposed to too much.


But yes, we have gay marriage in Portugal. They still don't allow gay couples to adopt - but it's still a step forwards.

Sadly, New Jersey is still mired in prejudice and still unwilling to treat homosexuals as equal citizens. Pam at Pam's House Blend has a great resumation of which legislators need tar and feathering


And then we get to an old standard. Why is is that the most vicoferous opponents of gay marriage are so damned useless in their own married lives? Do they fear the competition? "No gay marriage will damage the sanctity of marriage, and that's my job?!" Remember, those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones fire trebuchets.

There are many I could point to (Karl Rove and his divorces were quite recent), but I think a special prize goes to Iris Robinson, grossly homophobic Northern Irish MP who called homosexuals "abominations" among many other happy loving comments.

When she was 59, she comforted a 19 year old after the death of his father (one she had known since he was 9 years old). That comfort turned into an affair which her husband was quite miffed about. My my my thwere should probably be a special hypocrisy prize for this particular preacher of morality

And it further seems that she has been rather... free with the financial rules over her lover's business. My my what a paragon of morality



(I'm kind of torn on the age reporting here. Part of me wants to pile on everything because, yes, she's the enemy and that doesn't make me want to be very fair. But, while there was an age gap, I don't think lovers having a large age gap between them is inherently immoral and I think it's wrong to shame them for that. ESPECIALLY given the inherent sexism - men are rarely criticised for having female lovers that are substantially younger than them and certainly not on the same scale as men. On the flip side She was 59, he was 19. 19. 19 is very young. 19 and recently bereaved - he'd just lost a parent and she was comforting him. There's 'age gap' and there's 'predatory' to be honest.

Oh, and her name actually IS Mrs. Robinson. C'mon, it's too perfect)

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