The letter that doesn’t exist has been released to the media!

The Scottish government has published a letter it received from Northern Ireland’s Arlene Foster of the DUP, about its laws surrounding gay marriage.

The correspondence, signed by Arlene Foster, was sent in early September 2015 when she was finance minister in the Stormont executive.

In her letter to former Scottish Minister Mr Marco Biagi, Mrs Foster said she was “concerned” about Scottish government proposals over same sex marriage.

She said “neither of us would wish to place same-sex couples in an uncertain legal position”.

“In this instance, we can achieve legal certainty by restricting the definition of a ‘qualifying civil partnership’ so as to exclude civil partnerships which were entered into in Northern Ireland,” she said.

Writing in response, Mr Biagi said he had considered the issues but concluded that it would “not be appropriate to exclude civil partnerships registered in Northern Ireland from the order”.

Until the publication of this letter, Mrs Foster had been denying that it had existed.

http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2017/06/20/news/scottish-government-publishes-arlene-foster-s-letter-on-gay-marriage-1061889/

Och aye to gay marriage!

The Scottish Episcopal Church will hold a historic vote this year on whether to allow gay couples to marry in church.

If the vote is passed, it will become the first Anglican Church in the UK to allow same-sex marriage.

Supporters hope that if their arguments hold, gay couples will be walking down the aisles of some Scottish churches within the year.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40190204

Could gay marriage bring down the Australian government?

Gay marriage could bring down the Australian coalition government of Malcolm Turnbull at the next election according to a new poll commissioned for P-FLAG which found that a quarter of Coalition voters could change their vote over the issue.

Twenty six per cent of Coalition voters said they would be likely to support a change in government if marriage equality laws were not dealt with before the next election.

Aanother 40 per cent said they would back a change in government over it.

Only ten per cent said they would be less likely to vote for a government that allowed a free vote on gay marriage.

http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/gay-marriage-could-cost-coalition-government-galaxay-research-poll-shows/news-story/fa7c6e20a170995a56773396fe725601

Gay marriage okayed in Taiwan

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Tyrone Siu/Reuters | 17095

A top Taiwan court ruled for of gay marriage today, in a landmark ruling that paves the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalise same sex unions.

Twelve of 14 judges in the court, the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

Taiwan’s government has two years to implement the ruling.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/taiwan-top-court-rules-favour-gay-marriage-170524063603646.html

America wants gay marriage. So there

Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid. Although not meaningfully different from the 61% last year, this is the highest percentage to date and continues the generally steady rise since Gallup’s trend began in 1996, says Gallup Polls.

The new poll findings come nearly two years after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Americans’ support for same-sex marriage has more than doubled since Gallup first polled on the issue in 1996, when 27% said it should be recognized as valid by the law. In 2004 — weeks before gay weddings took place in Massachusetts after it became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage — less than half of Americans (42%) felt such unions should be legally valid. Majority support for gay marriage would not come until May 2011, about a month before New York became the sixth state to legalize it. Since then, support for legal same-sex marriage has steadily climbed, with consistent majorities in favor of it since late 2012.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/210566/support-gay-marriage-edges-new-high.aspx?

Digusting

A gay man is suing a funeral home in Mississippi, alleging that it refused to cremate his husband because it did not “deal with their kind.”

John “Jack” Zawadski, 82, and his nephew filed a lawsuit against the Picayune Funeral Home’s owners, seeking damages.

The lawsuit accuses them of backing out of a verbal agreement to provide final services for Zawadski’s husband, Robert Huskey, in May 2016, after discovering he was gay.

The funeral home denied all the claims in a response to the lawsuit.

“I felt as if all the air had been knocked out of me,” Zawadski said in a statement. “Bob was my life, and we had always felt so welcome in this community. And then, at a moment of such personal pain and loss, to have someone do what they did to me, to us, to Bob, I just couldn’t believe it. No one should be put through what we were put through.”

Zawadski and Huskey met in 1965 in California. They moved around the country, teaching special education classes and running an apple orchard, before retiring in Picayune, Mississippi in 1997, for the friendly neighbors and warm climate, the lawsuit states. They finally married in July 2015, weeks after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage settled.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/02/health/mississippi-funeral-home-gay-couple-lawsuit/

Step up for gay rights in Hong Kong

A gay civil servant’s husband will be entitled to the same benefits as his heterosexual colleagues’ spouses after a successful legal challenge against government policy.

In a “rare judicial recognition” of the city’s gay community, the High Court rejected the Civil Service Bureau’s stance that it was denying benefits for same-sex spouses to protect “the integrity of the institution of marriage”.

Leung Chun-kwong, who married his partner Scott Adams in New Zealand in 2014, launched the challenge last year against the secretary for the civil service and the commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department, which was reluctant to recognise their union.

The Court of First Instance ruled in Leung’s favour against the bureau in an unprecedented decision that may have an immediate bearing on other gay civil servants who married overseas.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2091507/landmark-win-gay-hong-kong-civil-servant-over-husbands

Finland ties the knot

Gay Marriage became legal in Finland this year, and on the day the law came into effect, there were many same-sex marriage ceremonies which in some cases were held in groups.

A 23-year-old Kurd who identified himself as Ziryan and from the Kurdistan Region got married to a Finnish man named Tomi on March 1, 2017.

“I have decided to marry a man. It is neither acting nor something artificial. This is my nature which I am proud of,” Ziryan said. “I am not a stranger. It was the society that didn’t accept me.”

He smuggled his way all the way to Finland, taking him two years to get there. He has been living in Finland for one and a half year.

“I am proud to be the first gay Kurd in Finland to hold the ceremony on this historic day, being one of those whose names were written in the history of this country,” he added.

Ziryan told Rudaw that his relatives had tried to kill him in the past.

“I was beaten up twice and injured, trying to kill me.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/19032017

Nesbitt changes his mind

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Mike Nesbitt | Belfast Telegraph | 17059

Northern Ireland Assemblyman Mike Nesbitt was opposed to gay marriage. Not any more, it appears.

Today he appeared on BBC local radio. When asked “should gay people be able to get married”, he replied, “Yes, they should.”

He admitted he had “caused hurt” by not supporting gay marriage sooner. “There is someone in my circle of acquaintances who does not live in this country because they are gay and will never come back again. That’s wrong. I don’t want a Northern Ireland where people feel although they are born here they can no longer live here because they are gay.”

Gay Activist challenges the Northern Ireland Assembly to get cracking and introduce gay marriage as soon as possible. It is a measure which is long overdue.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/mike-nesbitt-i-caused-hurt-by-not-supporting-law-change-on-gay-marriage-but-i-do-now-35540053.html

Give us equality, for goodness’ sake

Former cavalry officer John Walker, who is fighting to win his husband equal pension rights, has taken his case to the Supreme Court hoping for a decision which could “dramatically change the lives of thousands of same-sex couples”. He wants five high court justices to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling in 2015 which went against him.

Appeal judges had decided his claim failed because it applied to a period before gay civil partnerships were recognised by the law.

Mr Walker, who was paying into a company scheme for 20 years, argues that his husband should have the same pension rights a wife would enjoy if he was in a heterosexual relationship. He has been making the same contributions to the pension scheme as his heterosexual colleagues and wants to ensure that, should he die first, his husband will be adequately provided for.

Your Activist pointed out this anomaly at the time the civil partnership laws were being drafted, and was ignored.

http://www.itv.com/news/2017-03-08/gay-man-takes-fight-for-equal-pension-rights-for-husband-to-supreme-court/