“We don’t feel the need to take an extra step legally. But since we’re committed for life, we feel it’s really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example,” David Furnish said of his upcoming nuptials to Elton John. Since gay and lesbian marriage in England and Wales is now legal, the two have set the date for May. But will it be a big star-filled celebration? “We do like big parties,” Furnish said. “Over eight years ago, we had 650 people on the 21st of December at our house in Windsor… But with the kids, everything is different. I think what we’ll do is go to a registry office in England in May, and take the boys with us, and a couple of witnesses.”
The Indiana Senate approved a proposed Constitutional amendment that would ban gay and lesbian marriage, but a change in wording prevents in the proposed amendment from being voted on until 2016. The amendment, which passed with a vote of 32-17, can only be ratified after the House and the Senate vote upon the bill again in the next legislative session (2015 or 2016) and then finally the proposed amendment must be put to a popular vote—preventing Hoosiers from voting until 2016. According to Reuters: ”A version of the amendment had passed the Republican-dominated Indiana legislature in 2011, but the Indiana House in January softened it by removing language that would have banned gay civil unions. The Senate upheld the change made by the House on Thursday. The change in the language sets back the clock on the legislation, which supporters had hoped to get before voters this year.”
This, though, has gay-rights activists cheering, as it gives them more time to ensure that when it does go up for a vote, it will be swiftly rejected by the Indiana people.
MSPs in the Scottish Parliament have passed a marriage equality bill in a 105-18 vote. The piece of legislation, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, will allow gays and lesbians marry as soon as early as the fall, despite the two main churches’ opposition to the law. The law, though, allows religious and “belief bodies” to “opt-in” to perform same-sex marriages and no religious communities would be forced into the law. Currently England and Wales are expected to allow gay marriages at the end of March, leaving just Northern Ireland without marriage equality.
Lily Tomlin and her partner Jane Wagner finally walked down the aisle after 42 years together, confirmed Liz Smith from the New York Social Diary. ”We’re thinking maybe we’ll get married,” Tomlin told E! Online after the Supreme Court struck down Prop. 8. ”You didn’t think that would happen…You don’t really need to get married, but marriage is awfully nice. Everybody I know who got married, they say it really makes a difference. They feel very very happy about it.” While the couple initially joked that “Maybe we’ll be dressed like chickens,” there were no reports of a yellow-feathered bride.
It’s been one hell of a year. We’ve seen it all—both good and bad. And for this week, we’re reminding you of some of the defining moments of 2013.
A federal appeals court ruled today that the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) unconstitutionally discriminates against married same-sex couples. In striking down DOMA, the court held that government discrimination against lesbians and gay men now is assumed to be unconstitutional and that DOMA’s defenders could not offer any good reason for treating married same-sex couples differently from all other married couples. This is the first federal appeals court decision to decide that government discrimination against gay people gets a more exacting level of judicial review, known as “heightened scrutiny.”
Find out more and what this means after the jump…
Illnois House may take on a final vote today determining the future of gay and lesbian marriage in the state. According to Buzzfeed: “As lawmakers began Tuesday’s session, Rep. Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of the marriage equality bill in the House, amended its language to change the date the legislation would go into effect, and to seemingly reiterate exemptions for private clubs do not want to host marriages for same-sex couples.” This action by Harris allows for the marriage equality bill to be passed with only 60 votes rather than 71, according to the states procedural laws. If the vote is passed in the House it will move on to the Senate for a vote where it is likely to pass as the Senate already passed a previous version of the bill this year.
In a politically charged twist for gay rights in Colombia, two same-sex couples were awarded marriage licenses in September for the first time in the nation’s history. Gay rights activists are celebrating it as a step forward, but only time will tell as to whether the legal mechanism by which these licenses were granted will stand or be disabled before other same-sex couples can file.
Two same-sex couples officially achieved “civil matrimony” by filing for and being issued marriage licenses by judges in civil courts in the past two weeks. The judges in each case felt emboldened by a 2011 directive by Colombia’s Constitutional Court to its Congress to “find a way” for same-sex couples to achieve equal rights as heterosexual couples. Short of a proposal for other unions to fulfill this mission, the directive includes a clause interpreted by civil court judges as permission for same-sex couples to file for civil matrimony after June 20 of this year. [Blabbeando and El Tiempo]
So file they did, and savvy judges took the Constitutional Court at their word. Despite a pledge by the Inspector General to quickly halt more licenses like this from being granted, the marriages stand and are a landmark in the progress toward gay rights in Colombia and throughout Latin America.
Today, France hosts its first same-sex marriage in Montpellier. The South of France city will welcome hundreds of guests, including high-ranking politicians, to witness the wedding of Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau. Autin, who is the head of the region’s Lesbian and Gay Pride Association. ”When French children are born into this world, they are born with the same rights as everyone else—but from the moment you said you were a homosexual, society deprived you of some of those rights,” Autin told CNN. “Today the French Republic has given these rights back to us, the ones they had taken away, and it has put an end to an institutional discrimination.”
As expected, the Minnesota House voted to pass H.F. 1054, a bill that would legalize gay and lesbian marriage. The vote, 75-59, allows the piece of legislation to move on to the senate who will convene at 11 A.M. on Monday. Senate officials believe that the bill has enough votes to pass and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says that he will sign it as soon as it reaches his desk.