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U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO

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Charles F. Hunter, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, is to marry his partner, Turkish pop star Ramadan Çaysever, reports Daily Sabah.

Speaking at an event in the Dutch consulate, Hunter spoke about his relationship with Çaysever for the first time and confirmed reports about the planned marriage. The couple are thought to have met at one of Çaysever’s concerts.

Hunter proposed a few months ago and told friends about the planned wedding at Thanksgiving.

The wedding will take place in Hunter's hometown, Appleton, Wisconsin, where the couple are set to travel on December 20th.  However, a date for the ceremony has not been confirmed.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Wisconsin in October.

Watch the music video for Çaysever's "Diskotek", AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Couple of 49 Years Among First to Convert Civil Partnership to Marriage in England

A gay couple together for almost 49 years were among the first to be married under new laws in England allowing civil partnerships to be converted to marriage, reports LogoTV.

Roger192Roger Lockyer (87) and Percy Steven (75) were among the first couples in England to enter into a civil partnership in 2005.

Lockyer said:

“To me, it feels like reaching the top. We really are married. Which is what we have been for nearly half a century of course. But to have formal recognition of that I think is something that’s so unexpected and wonderful.”

Steven said that he is most looking forward to finally joining the couple’s utility accounts because he can now “ask for an account in both names.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in Scotland on Tuesday.  Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK where gay marriage remains illegal.


Ireland To Vote On Same-Sex Marriage In May - VIDEO

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The Irish government yesterday announced that a referendum on same-sex marriage will take place in May 2015, reports The Journal.

Although an exact date has not yet been set, it is thought the vote may be held in the first week of the month.

Calling for a respectful campaign from all sides, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said her officials would now begin work on the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment.

A recent Irish Times poll found that 71 percent of people intend to vote in favor of gay marriage.

Welcoming the announcement, Gay and Lesbian Equality Network chair Kieran Rose said:

“We do not take the outcome of the referendum for granted. Despite the strong support in the polls currently, we know that we will need every single possible vote on the day in order to win the referendum.”

Backed by government parties, the referendum was announced earlier this year by Prime Minister Enda Kenny. Kenny made headlines this month when he visited Dublin's Pantibar for Christmas drinks.

In what was seen as an opening salvo on what is likely to be a highly divisive campaign, the Catholic church in Ireland has released a manifesto outlining its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Watch Armagayddon, a video about absolute horror of marriage equality reaching Ireland, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In Scotland - VIDEO

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Same-sex couples can legally marry in Scotland now, reports Equality Network.

In February, Scotland became the seventeenth country in the world to legalise gay marriage. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 received Royal Assent in March and government has since been implementing the new law, including passing required secondary legislation.

Equality network scotlandScotland is considered to have one of the most progressive marriage equality laws in the world. The legislation differs from same-sex marriage laws in England and Wales in a number of respects including better protections for transgender people. The law also allows any religious or belief body to opt in to conducting same-sex marriages and does not ban religious or belief bodies from opting out.

Religious and belief organisations already authorised to conduct same-sex marriages include the Humanist Society Scotland, the Quakers, the Liberal Jewish Community, the Metropolitan Community Church, One Spirit Interfaith Foundation and the Open Episcopal Church in Scotland.

Scottish couples in civil partnerships also now have the option to convert to marriage through a free administrative process. Same-sex marriages performed abroad will also now be recognized in Scotland.

The first couple to make use of the new law were Douglas Pretsell and Peter Gloster, who converted their Scottish civil partnership to a Scottish marriage at the British Consulate in Melbourne, Australia.

Scott and David Barclay will be the first couple to take advantage of the new law by converting their civil partnership to a marriage in Scotland.

With the standard 15 day notice period required, it is expected the first same-sex marriages will take place on Hogmanay (December 31st).

Watch a Huffington Post report on the legalization of same-sex marriage in Scotland, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Australia Appoints First Openly Gay Territory Leader Andrew Barr

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Andrew Barr has become Australia’s first openly gay government leader after he was appointed leader of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) yesterday, reports ZeeNews.

Barr was appointed after Katy Gallagher stepped down from the role last week.

Barr said that he would continue to be a passionate advocate for same-sex marriage.

Act"It is quite ironic that you can be elected Chief Minister but you can't marry your partner of 15 years. It's time that this discrimination is ended in this country and I will continue to be a loud and passionate voice for that change.

"Canberra is Australia's most LGBTI-friendly city. I hope for the day when it is entirely unremarkable when someone in political leadership heading a government is openly gay or lesbian or bi-sexual or otherwise.

"We are inclusive and we strive to ensure that all of our citizens are treated equally and I look forward to the day when we can say that about our country."

The ACT voted to support same-sex marriage last year but the High Court later struck down the law, ruling that the federal parliament must decide on same-sex unions.

Although his party is opposed to same-sex marriage, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been urged to allow a conscience vote on the issue. A 2012 vote on the issue was defeated 98 to 42 after Abbott refused to allow his MPs a conscience vote.

A new bill legalizing same-sex marriage was introduced in the Australian parliament last month.


Pope Francis: Just To Be Clear, Gay Marriage Isn't On the Table - VIDEO

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Seemingly backtracking on promises made for a more inclusive Catholic Church, Pope Francis has indicated that same-sex marriage is not on the agenda, reports the Independent.

Seen by some as a reformer, Francis earlier this year suggested the church might support civil unions for same-sex couples. Last month, he demoted anti-gay U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke.

At a meeting of bishops in October, it was declared that gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer.” However, following a backlash from conservatives, the church announced that the statement was part of a “working document” that did not reflect a change in the official Catholic stance on homosexuality.

In an interview published yesterday in La Nacion, Francis said that although the church must help parents to stand by their gay children, official Catholic acceptance of same-sex marriage is not being considered.

Vatican“What [the synod] did talk about was of how a family with a homosexual child, whether a son or a daughter, goes about educating that child, how the family bears up, how to help that family to deal with that somewhat unusual situation.

“That is to say, the synod addressed the family and the homosexual persons in relation to their families, because we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires.

“We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter.”

However, he added that “nobody mentioned homosexual marriage” at the synod because “it did not cross our minds”.

Last week, the Irish Catholic Bishops's Conference released a 16-page manifesto outlining the chruch's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Watch a report on the opening of the October synod, AFTER THE JUMP...

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