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Bakery Refuses Order For 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Ashers bakery norhern ireland refuses order for cake

A bakery in Northern Ireland could face legal action from The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for refusing to take an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage.”

Based in Newtownabbey, Ashers was named after a verse from the Bible, which refers to "Bread from Asher,” reports RTE.

LGBT activist Gareth Lee asked for the cake, ordered to help mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage,” a logo for QueerSpace, and an image of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

Speaking to RTE, Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur said:

"I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that."

The Christian Institute, which is supporting Ashers because “the case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs,” said:

“When the order came through to the head office, the manager and directors decided to decline the request on conscience grounds, and offered a full refund.”

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland says that refusing to make the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and has written to Ashers asking that it remedies the situation within seven days or be taken to court.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. where same-sex marriage remains illegal.

Last May, The Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected a Denver-area bakery’s appeal of an earlier ruling that bakery owner Jack Phillips “unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."

Watch a video released by Ashers in which they comment on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The Fight For Marriage Equality In Italy: VIDEO

Pope francis receptive to civil partnerships

The close proximity of Vatican City to the Italian parliament may help to explain why Italy is the only country in Western Europe that provides no legal recognition of same-sex couples, reports Buzzfeed.

However, that situation may be about to change.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis suggested that a time might come when the church would drop its opposition to some form of civil partnership.

In the interview with Corriere della Sera, the pope said that although “marriage is between a man and a woman...we have to look at the different cases and evaluate them in their variety.” 6a00d8341c730253ef019aff7cea6f970b-300wi

Speaking to Buzzfeed last week, Monsignor Marcel Sánchez Sorondo said while the Catholic Church is against marriage equality, legislation that differentiates between marriage and civil partnerships might be acceptable.

According to a 2013 Pew survey, 74% of Italians said they believed “homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society.” A 2013 Ipsos poll found that 48% of Italians supported full same-sex marriage rights while 31% opposed marriage rights but supported an alternative form of partnership recognition.

Naples recently became the first large city in Italy to start recognizing overseas same-sex marriages after a lower court ordered officials in Grosseto to record an overseas marriage, reports Buzzfeed. However, some LGBT activists worry that the ruling may be no more than symbolic because a Supreme Court order issued last month ordered the annulment of a same-sex marriage. The Constitutional Court later ruled the forced annulment violated the rights of the couple in question. The court also ruled that the marriage remains invalid until the Italian government passes a law recognizing same-sex unions.

However, according to Dina Nerozzi, a psychologist and lay adviser to the Pontifical Council for the Family, marriage equality cannot happen:

“People will fight for that. I mean fight — [we] will take weapons out.”

Watch a report on Corriere della Sera's interview with Pope Francis, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Bisexual Asylum Seeker Avoids Deportation To Jamaica - VIDEO

Oraisha edwards

Orashia Edwards, a bisexual Jamaican man who says he faces danger in his native country because of his sexuality, learned on Tuesday that he will not be deported from the U.K.

Homophobia remains a major issue in Jamaican society.

The case for a judicial review of Home Secretary Theresa May's decision was thrown out by a judge in Leeds.

In his written judgement, Judge Clive Heaton QC said that Edwards was being dishonest about his sexuality.

According to Pink News, Edwards has been living in the U.K. for four years along with the rest of his family. He has a one-year-old daughter. Mr Edwards has not been in Jamaica for 14 years.

Speaking to the BBC after the verdict, Edwards said:

"This is my home, I feel safe here, my family and friends are here. I can't go back to Jamaica."

In a press release, activist organization Leeds For Change, which has claimed Home Office decisions behind asylum are prejudiced against LGBT applicants, said it “won’t stop fighting for Orashia to stay here in Leeds with us, his family and the LGBT community. An application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Orashia will be issued shortly.”

All claims of bias in asylum applications have been denied by the government.

Edwards learned Tuesday that he will now not be deported from the U.K. A spokesperson from the Home Office refused to comment on the change in its decision.

Edwards is today in court submitting new evidence.

Watch State Of Limbo, a short documentary about the Edwards case, and a follow-up interview prior to the hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Irish Government To End Discrimination Against LGBT Teachers - VIDEO

Irish Minister For Education Ruairi Quinn

The Irish government announced on June 28th that under an employment law amendment to be passed shortly, schools will no longer be allowed to fire teachers based on family status or sexual orientation.

The news came on the same day as Dublin’s biggest ever Pride Parade, with an estimated attendance of 40,000.

The amendment, jointly submitted by Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, will repeal section 37 of the Employment Equality Act of 1998, which currently allows religious institutions to discriminate “where it is reasonable to do so in order to maintain the religious ethos of the institution”.

Speaking to The Journal, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said that there were delays in the repeal of section 37 of the Employment Equality Act in order to ensure that the legislation was “robust enough":

“The Department of Education have been keen to progress it as it affects teachers in their everyday work. Teachers unions have been campaigning for this for a long time. While it has never been used to dismiss someone, it has still been present for teachers. It struck fear in teachers who were fearful of sharing personal details about their personal lives with colleagues and that really is unsatisfactory.”

According to the Irish Times, the proposal to repeal Section 37 will come before government ministers today.  Following approval, the proposals will be passed on to the lower and upper houses of the Irish legislature.

The change in legislation has had cross-party support within the Irish legislature.

Wath Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst perform at Dublin Pride, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Bulgarian MEP Calls Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst ‘Genetically Modified Organism’ - VIDEO

Lifeball_wurst

In an interview before his May election, Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Angel Dzhambazki described Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst as a “bearded creature.”

DzhambazkiIn the same interview, Dzhambazki said that recognition of the intersexed as a third gender is “absolutely an unacceptable targeting of humanity against nature.”

Speaking to One Europe, Dzhambazki said:

“A beard lady became a symbol of the Old continent a few days ago. This bearded creature, called with the European name Conchita Wurst is like genetically modified organism and won the Eurovision. And I wonder, if the vice of our time is that we tolerate the perversity. I don’t want such a song contest for my children.”

Yesterday, Dzhambazki was accepted into the Eurosceptic centre-right Conservative Party’s ECR group in the European Parliament, along with Irish MEP Brian Crowley.

Speaking to Pink News, English Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said:

“The public deserves an explanation as to why Conservative MEPs have agreed to share a platform with this divisive and hateful figure who is so out of touch with British values of tolerance and compassion. By associating themselves with such an openly racist and homophobic politician the Tories are dancing with the devil.”

Dzhambazki, a member of the Bulgaria Without Censorship party which is aligned with the Bulgarian National Movement, has also been accused of inciting hatred against immigrants, calling on the citizens of Sofia to "clean up" Bulgaria's capital city and take “self-defence actions” by establishing “volunteer patrols and units”.

Check out Conchita Wurst's winning Eurovision performance, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Obama Denounces Russia for 'Targeting' Gays in Speech to EU: VIDEO

Brussels_obama

In a speech on Wednesday at the Palais Des Beaux-Arts in Brussels after talks with EU and NATO leaders on Russia's military backed annexation of Crimea, President Obama gave a speech about taking a stand against Russia, part of which mentioned Russia's attitude toward gay rights, CNN reports:

In making the case for a united stand against what he characterized as Russian aggression, Obama borrowed from the language that helped win him the White House for a second term.

"We believe in human dignity - that every person is created equal, no matter who you are, or what you look like, or who you love, or where you come from," he said.

Later, Obama reiterated criticism of Russian intolerance spawned by a law passed before the Sochi Olympics that outlawed promoting gay rights to children.

Western ideals and values of openness and tolerance would endure long past repression, he argued.

"Instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights," he said. "Instead of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we can affirm the aspirations that we hold in common. That's what will make America strong. That's what will make Europe strong. That's what makes us who we are."

Watch the full speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

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