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Portuguese Parliament Blocks Bill Allowing Gays To Adopt

PortugalDespite widespread support the left-leaning Socialist party, a bill that would have allowed gay couples to adopt children has been defeated in Portugal’s Parliament. Versions of the law were submitted by the Green, Left Block, and Socialist parties, but the bill that was up for debate this past week was narrowly ousted by a slim 30 votes.

The entire Parliamentary body is composed of 220 representatives. Provisions preventing gay people from adopting children were written into a 2010 law that finally allowed gay couples to marry. 


Virginia Bill Allowing Unmarried Gays To Adopt Defeated

Howell"Two steps forward, two steps back" continues to be the best way of escribing Virginia's path towards LGBT equality.  Virginia state senator Janet Howell’s bill that would have allowed unmarried gay couples to adopt children has been shot down by Virginia Republicans.

Howell’s bill, which was backed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, was built around the idea that regardless of marital status, children fare better having two parents in their lives. The conservative opposition countered Howell’s bill arguing that unmarried parents made for unstable homes.


Ireland To Introduce Gay Adoption Law Prior To Same-Sex Marriage Referendum: VIDEO

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The Irish government has announced that legislation providing for adoption by gay couples will be enacted before the forthcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, reports the Irish Times.

The government also today announced the exact wording that people will vote on in the May referendum: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

The announcement in relation to adoption by gay couples comes following the first televised debate earlier this week on the same-sex marriage referendum during which potential pitfalls on the issue of gay adoption were revealed.

Actor Colin Farrell had pre-recorded an interview with host Claire Byrne in which he spoke passionately about his support for equal rights and how growing up with a gay brother and seeing him be at "the tail end of the whip of intolerance" left an indelible impression on him.

Frances_Fitzgerald_2014Whereas existing laws state that only married couples or sole applicants can seek to adopt a child, proposed changes would extend the right to adopt to same-sex partners. The reform will be part of the Children and Family Relationships Bill, the general scheme of which was published early last year, with a revised version published last September by current minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald (right).

The bill on same-sex marriage - along with a bill dealing with another referendum on reducing the age at which an individual can contest the presidential election from 35 to 21 - is expected to be published shortly and to be debated by both Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.

Earlier today we reported that the Union of Students in Ireland has launched the Vote For Love campaign in support of same-sex marriage. Watch the campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

In December, the Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran (above) released a manifesto outlining the reasons behind the Catholic Church's continuing war against equal rights for gay people.

Last weekend, Ireland's health minister Leo Varadkar announced that he is gay. Earlier today, Labour politician Dominic Hannigan announced that he married his partner of 20 years Chris, in London on New Year's Eve.

Continue reading "Ireland To Introduce Gay Adoption Law Prior To Same-Sex Marriage Referendum: VIDEO" »


Austrian LGBT Couples Can Now Legally Adopt Children

AustriaThanks to a Wednesday decision made in the Austrian Constitutional Court, same-sex couples will now be able to adopt children. Previously, gay and lesbian couples could only adopt if one of the partners was the child’s biological mother or father.

Chief Judge Gerhart Holzinger explained that the court could find "no objective argument for a differing rule based solely on sexual orientation" of prospective parents.

Same-sex couples may form a “registered partnership” in Austria, but are not permitted to marry. 


Slovakia's Upcoming Referendum On Gay Rights Is Being Used to Obscure Other Social and Economic Problems

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Next month the citizens of Slovakia will participate in a country-wide referendum that will decide the future of a number of key civil rights for LGBT Slovakians. Slovakia’s president Andrej Kiska (above) first made the announcement last year after Alliance for Family, a local conservative advocacy group, gathered some 400,000 signatures in support of putting gay rights up to the popular vote.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an Arizona-based Christian legal organization, actively lobbied Slovakia’s constitutional court in support of the referendum. Roger Kiska, the ADF’s senior legal counsel, has openly expressed his opinion that the fate of all civil rights, even those of minorities, deserve to put in the hands of the majority vote. 

“The people of Slovakia should have the freedom to preserve marriage and family if they so choose,” Kiska said in 2014. “The Constitutional Court is right to affirm the democratic freedom of the Slovak people. This referendum will allow Slovaks to protect current Slovak law and important social values.”

Slovakia's referendum will ask voters:

If they would like marriage to be defined as a union between a man and a woman.

If gay couples should be banned from adopting children.

If children should have to attend sex education classes against parents’ wishes.

Proponents of the referendum speak of it as if it is meant to provide  legitimate means through which LGBT rights could be achieved. As Dalibor Rohac explains in a New York Times op-ed, however, the gesture is more of a political distraction meant to draw Slovakians’ attention away from the country’s other pressing needs.

FicoFor the government of Prime Minister [Robert] Fico (right), the controversy is a welcome — though temporary — distraction from some very real problems facing Slovakia. While its transition from Communism was a success, the country is still plagued by rampant corruption, chronic unemployment — exceeding 30 percent in some regions — and by the intergenerational poverty of the sizeable Roma population.

The country has also seen a geopolitical shift following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Mr. Fico becoming one of the Kremlin’s leading apologists. Unsurprisingly, Slovakia’s anti-gay activists have a soft spot for Vladimir Putin, too. Former Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky, a former Catholic dissident and an outspoken supporter of the referendum, noted recently that “in Russia, one would not even have to campaign for this — over there, the protection of traditional Christian values is an integral part of government policy” and warned against the “gender ideology” exported from the United States. [...]

It seems unlikely that Slovak traditionalists will ultimately be on the winning side of this argument. In the meantime, the mean-spirited campaigning and frequent disparaging remarks about gays and their “condition” are a poor substitute for serious policy discussions and are making the country a much less pleasant place, and not just for its gay population.

Read Rohac's full piece here


Last Night's 'Home for the Holidays' CBS Special Featured a Gay Family for the First Time: VIDEO

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Last night's Home for the Holidays was notable not only because it helped shine a light on some of the more than 400,000 children in our nation's foster care system, but also because it was the first time the long-running CBS special featured an adoption story involving a gay couple. 

Rich Valenza's life was forever changed after he met 5-year-old Zack and his 4-year-old sister, Emmary. Later, Rich met his life partner Jared Gee and the four are now a loving family. 

Check out the heartwarming segment on the Valenza-Gee family, AFTER THE JUMP...

And for more information on how you can help a child in need this holiday season, visit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption website here

Continue reading "Last Night's 'Home for the Holidays' CBS Special Featured a Gay Family for the First Time: VIDEO" »


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