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/

DUP’s blocking of gay marriage hits the buffers after elections

Following the latest assembly election in Northern Ireland, unionists have lost their majority at Stormont for the first time ever. Most significantly for gay people, the DUP fell short of the 30 seats it needed to trigger a controversial ‘petition of concern’.

That is the mechanism which gives them a veto over issues such as gay marriage.

The DUP have wielded petitions of concern as an effective veto on progressive legislation. The Northern Irish Assembly has repeatedly voted to legalise same-sex marriage, but the motions have always been blocked by the socially conservative DUP.

Marriage equality campaigners are now hopeful that Northern Ireland will soon join the rest of Britain and the Republic of Ireland by legalising same-sex marriage.

The seats won by the parties are now: DUP: 29, Sinn Féin: 28, SDLP: 12, UUP: 10, Alliance Party: 8, Green Party: 2, Traditional Unionist Voice: 1, Independent: 1

http://leftfootforward.org/2017/03/northern-ireland-dup-loses-petition-of-concern-power-clearing-the-way-for-equal-marriage/

Gay marriage in Texas Supreme Court

Seeking to stop government-paid benefits to same-sex spouses, opponents of gay marriage told the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday that there is no fundamental right to insurance coverage.

While the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hughes didn’t create a right to benefits, it recognized a far more important and sweeping standard — the right for same-sex marriages to be treated equally, lawyer Douglas Alexander told the state court.

A ruling is expected by the end of June.

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/texas-supreme-court-hears-gay-marriage-case/4jcfKZ5XMziXXyE90FRZ8M/

Bishop converts

John Wraw is the bishop of Bradwell in Chelmsford and is living with terminal cancer, and the support he has received from gay people within the church had “made him think really seriously” and changed his views about gay relationships and gay marriage. He supported the introduction of women bishops in 2014, but has not previously expressed a public view on gay marriage.

“It is recognising those qualities of relationship that I meet with so many people – hetereosexual, gay, bi – with people not really wanting to find their identity in gender but in who they are as human beings, for me children of God whom God delights in. This is not new Christian theology but for me I have lived it very intensely and personally this last three years and it has changed me profoundly as a person,” he wrote to his diocese. He hoped same-sex marriages would eventually receive “full acceptance” in the Church.

Gay Activist sends best wishes to the Bishop of Bradwell. We hope his followers will note his words and put them into positive action.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/27/bishop-issues-dying-plea-accept-gay-marriage-says-church-england/

Its time for gay marriage to arrive in Northern Ireland

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Andy Allen | Paul McErlane/Guardian | 17048

Andy Allen, who represents Belfast East, a former soldier who lost both his legs and most of his sight in a Taliban bomb attack in Afghanistan, has pledged that if re-elected to the Northern Ireland assembly he will support moves towards same-sex marriage equality.

due to the opposition of the Democratic Unionist party and many of Allen’s party colleagues, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where LGBT couples cannot get married.

“I was elected to the last assembly only in May and I was the only mainstream unionist to vote for same-sex marriage. Whenever I realised it was coming forward I spent a great deal of time talking to people on both sides of the argument, including the gay community. I reached out to individuals from that community as well as religious organisations and faiths who robustly argued against it. But I found myself coming to a view of ‘live and let live’,” Mr Allen told reporters.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/27/ulster-unionist-election-pledge-support-gay-marriage

Gay marriage is good for our lives

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Los Angeles high school students protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump outside Los Angeles City Hall | Nick Ut/Associated Press | 17044

Research in America has revealed a decline in suicide attempts by GLBTQI students since gay marriage was introduced in their states.

Over 16 years, states that adopted laws allowing same-sex marriage saw an immediate decline in suicide attempts by gay, lesbian and bisexual high school students, a group in which attempted suicide is two to seven times more common than among their heterosexual peers.

In the year following any state’s adoption of marriage equality, rates of attempted suicide among such high schoolers in that state fell 14% below that group’s rate of suicide attempts in states that had not changed their policies on gay marriage.

From 1999 to 2015, same-sex marriage being legalised meant 134,000 fewer adolescents attempted suicide.

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-gay-marriage-suicide-20170221-story.html

The lady’s not for iced fruit cake, then

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has pledged to end same-sex marriage, despite gaining support from the country’s gay voters.
The far-right leader said she would abolish same-sex marriage in a long list of 144 pledges released this week.

Le Pen, who is currently leading the polls for the spring elections, said the reversal of the same-sex marriage law would not be retroactive, and she would revert back to the system in place prior to 2013 with gay couples only being able to enter into civil partnerships.

Perhaps gay couples in France should reconsider who they should vote for.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4228540/Marine-Le-Pen-pledges-end-sex-marriage.html

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/01/how-marine-le-pen-is-winning-frances-gay-vote/

Synod defeats Archbishop

The result of the Synod debate over gay marriage is now known. The clergy narrowly voted against, by 100 votes to 93, meaning the motion was lost.

The rejection of the report is a blow to the authority of Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, who pleaded with the synod to accept the report as “a basis for moving on, a good basis, a roadmap”.

The Synod disagreed with him. Clearly the majority of the Synod no longer hold the view that marriage is a lifelong union of a man and a woman.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/15/church-of-england-in-turmoil-as-synod-rejects-report-on-same-sex-relationships