The UK marriage equality bill, which was given its final approval in the upper House of Lords yesterday, has now been sent to Queen Elizabeth II for royal assent, a final step that is little more than a formality. With her signature, the bill is expected to become law later this week, BBC news reports:
It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year.
Under the terms of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organizations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church of Wales being banned in law from doing so.
MPs decided not to oppose a number of minor changes agreed by the House of Lords.
Among these were protections for transgender couples, which will allow people to change sex and remain married.
Following similar suits in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana has filed an amended lawsuit against the state on behalf of seven gay couples in an attempt to win for them the same benefits that married straight couples receive. The Missoulian reports:
In the amended lawsuit, attorney James Goetz identifies numerous statues, including laws he says prevent gay couples from receiving financial protections given to police officers and spouses and from designating their partners as beneficiaries for worker's compensation.
Other laws Goetz cites exclude gay couples from financial protections for surviving spouses, authority over end-of-life decisions, financial protections due to illness or disability and protections from the dissolution of their relationships.
In December 2012, the Montana Supreme Court denied the ACLU's original appeal challenging every statue excluding committed same-sex couples form protections granted to straight couples. The Justices did say, however, that the ACLU could move forward with statute-specific efforts to secure equal treatment for same-sex couples in the state.
On last night's The Daily Show, interim host John Oliver covered the result of George Zimmerman's trial in a segment called "Wait: What? How Could You Possibly... You've Got To Be Kid... There Is No Way... I Can't... Oh My God." If you don't have the time to watch the clip or can't view it on your mobile device, then all you need to take away from it is John's slack-jawed incredulity when he recounted:
According to current Florida law you can get a gun, follow an unarmed minor, call the police, have them explicitly tell you to stop following [the minor] and choose to ignore that, keep following the minor, get into a confrontation with them, and if at any point during that process you get scared you can shoot the minor to death, and the state of Florida will say, "Well, look: you did what you could."
The full video can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...
Sinful Catholics can now earn indulgences, reducing the time they'll have to spend in purgatory for their sins, by following Pope Francis on Twitter, the Guardian reports:
Indulgences these days are granted to those who carry out certain tasks – such as climbing the Sacred Steps, in Rome (reportedly brought from Pontius Pilate's house after Jesus scaled them before his crucifixion), a feat that earns believers seven years off purgatory.
But attendance at events such as the Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, a week-long event starting on 22 July, can also win an indulgence.
Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican's sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the "rites and pious exercises" of the event on television, radio and through social media.
"That includes following Twitter," said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. "But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet."
For interested sinners, the Pope's handle is @pontifex.
The Vatican also plans on opening a Pinterest account soon, according to the article, where you'll presumably also be able to buy time by pinning photos of red Prada shoes, and such. Though we doubt time on Venerabilis, the recently-reported hook-up website for gay priests, will ever count.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the same nutbag who believes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a 'war on religion,' has been busy this summer speaking out against those who contradict the "plumbing God created.' Earlier this month, Gohmert spoke at a Tea Party rally in Dallas where he asked the question on everyone's mind: How does the mating of two males 'evolve the species upward?' Right Wing Watch reports:
Alleging that the Obama administration was attacking Christianity by threatening to prosecute those who believe that homosexuality is wrong with hate crimes laws, Gohmert wanted to know how "someone who believes in evolution...that throughout the history of the universe, and particularly Earth, that people have come together and born an offspring from different species that has evolved and given us stronger and better species, how does the mating of two males evolve the species upwards? Somebody send me a letter and help me with that."
But as Gohmert says to the crowd: "we're not haters as Christians, we're lovers." And he plans on continuing to spread the love....just not the icky gay kind.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Actor Cory Monteith died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol, according to the British Columbia coroner's office, the AP reports:
The British Columbia coroner's office says in a statement Tuesday that "there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith's death was anything other than a most tragic accident."
Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room over the weekend.
Since his death, details have emerged about his last film role playing a street hustler addicted to drugs in the yet-to-be-released, McKanick. The film's director, Josh C. Waller, spoke to The LA Times about Monteith's desire to delve into his troubled past for the role:
“In my mind, I was envisioning a teeny little drug guy [for the role], but Cory Monteith is this tall, strapping man,” Waller said in an interview on Sunday, hours after the actor was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room. “But when I met with him, he wanted to do it so badly. He was very vocal about his past, and said he wanted to tap into things from his youth that he hadn’t been able to use as an actor yet.”
Though the film has yet to find distribution, Waller hopes that people will get to see Monteith in a role that he took pride in:
"It's tricky, because you know there's a group of people that want to see the movie because it’s his last film — but by no means does anybody want to exploit the tragedy...I want people to see the movie, because Cory deserves that. People would ultimately see that he had a lot more to offer artistically, and it's a shame that this happened because now he can't explore that."
Bravo has announced it will re-air the episode of Inside The Actors Studio that features Monteith among the other cast members of Glee, The Huffington Post reports. Host James Lipton recalled his memories of co-starring on Glee and interviewing Monteth:
"Lipton also shared Monteith's surprisingly thoughtful response to his question, 'If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?' According to Lipton, 'Cory’s God said, ‘Uh, sorry I haven’t been around. There’s a good explanation.’ Lipton added, 'I certainly hope there is. We needed Cory’s gifts.'”
Never known to miss an opportunity for hate-mongering, Westboro Baptist Church has announced that it will picket Monteith's funeral because Glee features gay characters.
According to GossipCop, upon hearing of Monteith's death, the group declared, “PRAISE GOD for killing Cory Monteith — a wicked fag-enabler before the LORD!" They later tweeted, “Westboro Baptist Church is GLEE-ful over God’s righteous judgment to end @CoryMonteith’s life! Funeral picket soon!” Perhaps most appalling was Westboro's tweet to Monteith's girlfriend and co-star, Lea Michele: “Will @msleamichele kill herself as well? Then the wedding can go on as planned IN HELL! — invites for all their fans!” Westboro also posted a "eulogy" to Monteith (pictured at right).