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Anti-gay Groups Offer 'Congratulations' to Yes Campaign in Wake of Irish Marriage Equality Victory

Iona

The two main organizations behind the No campaign in Ireland's marriage referendum have conceded defeat and issued statements congratulating the equality side's victory. 

Catholic-based anti-gay activist group Iona Institute, which aired a series of misleading fear ads ahead of the referendum vote, sent out the following press release:

We would like to congratulate the Yes side on winning such a handsome victory in the marriage referendum. They fought a very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started.

For our part, The Iona Institute is proud to have helped represent the many hundreds of thousands of Irish people who would otherwise have had no voice in this referendum because all of the political parties backed a Yes vote.

Added Iona Institute Director David Quinn:

Quinn"We believe a fought a good campaign. It was always going to be an uphill battle. However, we helped to provide a voice to the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who did vote No. The fact that no political party supported them must be a concern from a democratic point of view...Going forward, we will continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood. We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”

Mothers & Fathers Matter, the organization behind last week's video featuring two gay men explaining their opposition to same-sex marriage, said:

"We offer our warm congratulations to the YES campaign on their victory. There are thousands of people who worked hard for them to achieve this result, and they can be justifiably happy with their efforts today. Though at times this campaign was unpleasant for people on all sides, nobody who involves themselves in a campaign does so with anything but the good of their country at heart. There is no better way to resolve difference than the way we are using today. From our point of view, we have represented a proportion of the population greater than those who support any political party. One in three Irish people in this campaign was not represented by the political establishment, the media, or the institutions of state. We are proud to have fought on behalf of those voices when nobody else would. Today’s result was achieved by the Government after they issued certain promises about surrogacy, adoption, and a range of other issues. A lot of voters believed those assurances and they must now be kept." 


Ireland Says 'Yes' to Marriage Equality in Resounding 2:1 Vote

Ireland

All signs point to a decisive 'Yes' victory in favor of equality in Ireland's marriage referendum, the AP reports:

Senior figures from the "no" campaign, who sought to prevent Ireland's constitution from being amended to permit same-sex marriages, say the only question is how large the "yes" side's margin of victory will be from Friday's vote.

"We're the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world of liberty and equality. So it's a very proud day to be Irish," said Leo Varadkar, a Cabinet minister who came out as gay at the start of a government-led effort to amend Ireland's conservative Catholic constitution.

A strategist with Fine Gael, the country's current ruling party, told the Irish Independent the results are turning out to be 2:1 'Yes' vote, with the equality side capturing 65-66% of the vote nationwide.  


Texas Church Reverses Course After Relegating Gay Couple To Side Chapel For Son's Ceremony: VIDEO

Couple

Earlier this month, we told you how a church in Florida had agreed to allow a gay couple's child to be baptized after initially turning them away, igniting a weeklong national firestorm.

Apparently, a church in Austin, Texas wanted to avoid a similar controversy.

Rich Jones and Adrian Mertz have both attended Shoreline Church since before they were married last year. They've continued to attend with their 4-year-old adopted son, Santino, and say they've been welcomed. 

But when Jones and Mertz requested to hold a dedication ceremony for Santino at the church, they were told it would have to be in a side chapel rather than the main sanctuary. The topic of homosexuality was too sensitive, church officials said, and the congregation wasn't ready to deal with it. 

However, after a reporter from a local TV station contacted the church about turning away Jones and Mertz, officials quickly changed their mind. 

From KVUE-TV

The congregation issued this statement:

"We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused the Mertz family regarding the dedication of their child to God. We understand how our attempt to make a reasonable accommodation was misguided and hurtful. It is our intent to uphold human dignity, and in this regard we have failed. We are reaching out to the family to invite them to our next baby dedication."

Mertz and Jones were beside themselves with joy upon receiving the news. ... 

"Honestly I am just so happy and glad that we stepped out on faith. We've come to realize in order to expect change, you have to be part of the change and this just shed light on what Shoreline is really all about," said Mertz.

Santino's dedication is now set for June in the main chapel with all the other children. 

Watch KVUE-TV's report, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Texas Church Reverses Course After Relegating Gay Couple To Side Chapel For Son's Ceremony: VIDEO" »


Guam Lesbian Couple Presses On in Legal Battle Over Marriage Equality

Gay-couple_0

Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan, the lesbian couple challenging Guam’s same-sex marriage ban are not giving up on their fight to bring equality to U.S. territory. Earlier this week the couple’s joint legal team further pressed Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood to dismantle the ban ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision. They are now moving for a summary judgement that would technically allow gay marriage in Guam ahead of the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling.

Previously Guam’s Governor, Eddie Calvo, suggested that Guam’s courts hold off on making any sort of move to strike down the gay marriage ban until after the Supreme Court’s decision. The couple’s legal team, which already gave the Governor’s defense time to prepare and introduce new arguments, feels as if their opposition is merely stalling the inevitable.

"This court has already considered and rejected the defendants' calls to 'wait and see' what the U.S. Supreme Court does or does not do," Aguero and Pangelinan’s attorneys expressed in a written statement.  "The material facts are undisputed, the controlling law is undisputed. The issues could not be clearer. Frankly, neither could the outcome. 

Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan’s next court date is set for June 5th.

In related news, marriage equality plaintiff Jim Obergefell is expected to speak at the University of Guam spring graduation on Sunday. 


What Happens If the 'No' Side Wins in Today's Marriage Equality Referendum in Ireland?

The polling stations are open in Ireland and people have begun to weigh in on the marriage referendum. Voter surveys have consistently shown a strong (if slightly decreasing) majority of voters favor extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, but what happens if these polls turn out to be wrong?

NoThe Associated Press has an answer:

If the verdict is "no," Ireland's gay residents can continue to enter civil partnerships, marriage-style contracts legalized in Ireland in 2010. More than 1,000 gay couples have become civil partners in the past four years, giving them marriage-style rights on property, inheritance, tax and other financial matters. But legal experts say the partnerships are legally inferior to marriage in dozens of aspects. Some gay people say, in event of rejection, they might move to countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Advocates of gay marriage could push for another referendum, but that could take more than a decade.

Voting will continue until 22:00 BST (5pm ET) with counting due to start Saturday morning (4am ET)  

The Irish Independent has a live stream of referendum-related news coverage here


Texas Republican Comes Out For Gay Marriage As State House Passes 'Pastor Protection Act'

Davis

The first Republican Texas lawmaker in history has come out in support of same-sex marriage. 

GOP Rep. Sarah Davis, who represents a Houston-area district and had previously expressed support for civil unions, came out for marriage equality in an interview Thursday about her decision not to sign a hateful anti-gay letter issued by the House Republican Caucus last week.  

The Texas Observer reports: 

“I just don’t agree with the sentiment of the letter,” Davis told the Observer. “I don’t feel the need to pass legislation or vote for legislation that prohibits two adults who love each other to be able to be joined in a civil union or marriage. It does not affect my marriage.” ... 

Davis noted that she’s received endorsements from two LGBT groups, Log Cabin Republicans and Equality Texas. She was the first Republican to receive Equality Texas’ endorsement, a decision that drew criticism from some LGBT advocates, in part because she hadn’t come out for same-sex marriage.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to vote, but I’ve spoken about the issue,” Davis said. “In situations where I’ve been asked, I’ve always stated my position, so I don’t think this is new ground that I’ve just staked out.”

Meanwhile, the Texas House on Thursday approved the so-called "Pastor Protection Act" in a 141-2 vote. The state's two openly LGBT lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, including Democratic Rep. Celia Israel, who said on the House floor: 

Israel.Celia"Let me reassure those pastors out there: Some fine day, my partner and I are going to get married in the great state of Texas. The Supreme Court will hopefully take care of that issue for us. When that day comes, rest assured to those pastors and preachers who take a more literal interpretation of the Bible, that my partner and I will not be going to them to bless our unions. I will be going to someone who loves us and respects us for who we are and the way in which we have taken care of one another. So if we see this issue as a reiteration of what is in the United States Constitution, which is a respect for religion, this Roman Catholic urges you to vote yes." 

The anti-LGBT Texas Pastor Council issued a hateful statement celebrating passage of the Pastor Protection Act:  

Screen shot 2015-05-21 at 4.32.59 PM"This bill is a small step of protection in a much larger war against religious freedom raging across America and well underway in Texas," said Dave Welch, President of Texas Pastor Council Action, an ethnically and denominationally diverse coalition involving pastors in all major cities in Texas. "We are very pleased that SB 2065 survived efforts to weaken its scope that does nothing more than puts in Texas law protections for pastors to do what we have been doing since the birth of this nation - exercise our faith in obedience to God and with the support of our Constitution and laws."

Welch said they plan to revisit other bills that died during the session, particularly if the U.S. Supreme Court "goes rogue" and overturns Article 1, Section 32 of the Texas Constitution defining marriage as a union only of one man and one woman. "We will not yield on inch of the rights given us by God, the freedoms purchased by the blood of patriots and part of our national DNA to those attempting to recreate our moral laws, culture and laws according to those with a deviant sexual lifestyle or gender confused." 


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