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Gay Marriage News Watch: Texas, Texas, Texas! - VIDEO

Baume

Matt Baume with the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports on Texas House Republican efforts to defy the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on marriage, a "trojan horse" bill that may open the door to more anti-LGBT discrimination, and more.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Jeb Bush Says It's 'Hard to Imagine' How America Will 'Succeed' If Gay Marriage Is Legalized: VIDEO

Bush

Hoping to convince right-wing Christians he's sufficiently bigoted enough to earn their votes this election, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush doubled down on his opposition to LGBT rights in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody on Sunday.

"To imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, committed child-centered family system is hard to imagine," said Bush. "“So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling because they are going to decide whatever they decide, I don’t know what they are going to do, we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage.”

He continued:

“It has to be — if we want to create a right to rise society, where people, particularly children born in poverty — if we want to have them to have a chance, it should be a core American value. We have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and dad loving their children with their heart and soul.”

Bush also reiterated his support for Christian businesses owners' right to refuse service to gay couples:

“A big country, a tolerant country ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs. We should be able to figure this out. This should not be that complicated gosh it is right now."

Watch the interview clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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93 of 98 Texas House Republicans Shamefully Sign Anti-Gay Letter Pledging to Defy SCOTUS on Marriage

Texas

The day after an anti-gay marriage bill died in the Texas House, 93 of the chamber's 98 Republicans signed a letter affirming the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. 

The Texas Tribune reports:  

TexasThe House Republican Caucus on Friday released a letter reaffirming its support of the state’s long-standing ban on gay marriage, calling marriage between a man and woman a “principle that is so dearly held by Texans far and wide.”

“This letter provides legislative support and a legal foundation for the Texas constitutional provision,” Kelly Carnal, executive director of the caucus, said in a statement.

The letter was signed by 93 of the 98 House Republicans. Those who did not sign were: Sarah Davis of West University Place, Jason Villalba of Dallas, Matt Schaefer of Tyler, Larry Gonzales of Round Rock and Speaker Joe Straus.

Schaefer, a tea partier, told the Tribune he didn't sign the letter because he wanted action, not words, in opposition to same-sex marriage. 

Even though his anti-gay marriage bill fell victim to Thursday night's deadline, GOP Rep. Cecil Bell Jr. says he hopes to re-introduce it as an amendment to other legislation. From The Dallas Morning News

Bell“We missed an opportunity tonight, but the session is still intact, the session still moves on,” Bell told reporters. “No bill is dead, as long as there are other bills in front [further along in the process]. You just have to find something that’s germane. … We will continue to look for places that it fits [and] work to get this effort … done.”

Bell said that his bill easily would have passed if it had come up Thursday for a vote — and would have drawn some Democratic votes.

“I don’t believe that standing up for sovereignty is a partisan issue,” he said.

LGBT advocates are also warning that with two weeks left in the Texas legislative session, there is still a risk of anti-gay amendments. One could emerge Monday, when GOP Rep. Scott Sanford gets another chance to introduce a proposal that would give child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against LGBT people. However, Sanford's amendment would need a two-thirds majority to pass. There are 98 Republicans and 52 Democrats in the House. If some Democrats vote for Sanford's amendment or are absent, opposition from Republicans like Davis and Villalba — who declined to sign the anti-gay marriage letter — could be crucial. 

While the vast majority of the record number of anti-LGBT proposals introduced in Texas this year are officially dead, the leader of the hate group Texas Values says his side is "#StillWinning":  

Read the anti-gay marriage letter signed by 93 House Republicans, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Irish Religious Right Mouthpiece Refuses To Debate Drag Queen Panti Bliss On Marriage Equality: VIDEO

Ireland2

Irish anti-gay activist and Iona Institute mouthpiece Breda O’Brien (above left) has declined an invitation to debate Rory O’Neill - aka Panti Bliss (above right) - on grounds of illness, reports the Independent.

Last month, O’Brien, a teacher and columnist with the Irish Times, misquoted former Irish President Mary McAleese while attacking the latter’s pro-equality comments.

Although O’Brien initially challenged O’Neill to a debate, she has now claimed that she cannot take part as she has a "very bad case of bronchitis".

Oddly, she also claimed that a debate before the referendum would not be appropriate. Not so oddly and true to form, she made a lame attempt to muddy the waters by attacking the “systemic removal of No posters” and the decision by the Irish police force to support a yes vote.

Additionally, the officially non-homophobic journalist attacked the international financial support given to the ‘Yes’ side, neglecting to mention that the Iona Institute’s donations cannot be verified because the fake institute has refused to issue its accounts.

Obrien"I'm absolutely willing to have a debate, or preferably a conversation with Rory at the right time and the right place. But I don't believe now is the right time because it will only distract from the referendum campaign and the proposed massive constitutional change. Why do I say that? There was a deluge of offers from media outlets offering to host a debate. However, none of them showed the slightest interest in looking at the systematic removal of No posters throughout the country, or at the worrying intervention of [the police force] apparently advocating a Yes vote.

"There was no interest in investigating the distorting effect of millions of Atlantic Philanthropy dollars given to only one side of the debate for nearly a decade, with the aim of securing same-sex marriage. It made me wonder whether programme makers were seriously interested in informing the Irish public or simply interested in boosting ratings."

Despite the claims of media bias, Larry Masterson, producer of state broadcaster RTE’s The Saturday Night Show, said no parameters whatsoever had been discussed when O'Brien said no to the debate:

"We told Breda we would give her an equal time of four to five minutes for each side. There would be silence throughout and that the audience would be split fairly 50/50. There was no discussion of parameters but I would be happy to sit down and discuss anything she would like, even at this late stage. We are making ourselves available to her. In her allotted time she is also free to discuss any issue she wants. She can dedicate it all to talking about the [police] advocating a Yes vote or the removal of No posters, if she wants. We are still available this week. We rang Rory and within minutes he got back and said he would do it."

Rory O’Neill said he has been approached by "every TV and radio station in the country" and is ready to debate with Ms O'Brien "if she wants to".

But Ms O'Brien earlier this week told the Sunday Independent: "The point is that no journalist has undertaken to investigate any of the areas I spoke about. Offering me time to make the points in a debate with Panti hardly counts as investigative journalism undertaken by the Irish media into areas of grave concern for Irish democracy."

Translation: O’Brien can lie and abuse people as much as she wants and ignore the actual issues but it’s up to someone else to deal with actual facts.

Watch the Iona Institute’s latest factually incorrect attack on equality, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'The Young And The Restless’ Star Greg Rikaart Marries Boyfriend In Hawaii

Rikaart

The Young and the Restless star Greg Rikaart married his longtime boyfriend, TV writer Robert Sudduth, on a gorgeous Maui beach on Wednesday. The Emmy award-winning Rikaart announced his nuptials on his Twitter page, posting the above photo from the modest ceremony.

Rikaart publicly came out two years ago on Twitter a day after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Congrats you two!

[h/t NewNowNext]


Ireland Marriage Equality Referendum Round-up: VIDEO

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With only a week to go before Ireland's May 22nd referendum on gay marriage opinions - both negative and positive - are coming thick and fast.

Here's four of today's nicer stories: politicians pins are staying, Donegal crooner and Irish mammies' Daniel O'Donnell supports marriage equality, HAILO offering free rides to polling stations and poor old Martin explains "d'aul gays" getting married to his mam and dad.

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Politicians who refuse to remove pins in support of marriage equality will not face any sanctions despite a long-standing rule that members, staff and visitors to government buildings are not permitted to wear emblems of a party-political nature while in the complex.

 

I'm leaving my pin on thanks very much!! @oconnellhugh http://t.co/MmPeeEHk5V

— John Lyons TD (@JohnLyonsTD) May 14, 2015

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Last weekend, Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin was asked to remove a Yes Equality pin while appearing on RTÉ’s Saturday Night Show - the same show that led to the Iona Institute suing the broadcaster last year after Rory O’Neill suggested its members might be homophobic.

Amazingly done @AodhanORiordain - just shows how petrified RTÉ are of #MarRef!! pic.twitter.com/hd9qAUPtXf

— Scott De Buitléir (@scottdebuitleir) May 9, 2015

 Read more, AFTER THE JUMP...

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