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Luxembourg's Openly Gay Prime Minister Talks Plans To Wed Partner

Bettel

(photo via Facebook)

Xavier Bettel, the openly gay Prime Minister of Luxembourg, has announced that he plans to marry his partner Gauthier Destenay soon. Speaking to the LA Times, Bettel confirmed that he accepted Destenay’s proposal but said that no date has yet been set.

Bettel, who has always been open about his sexuality, took office in December 2013. Last June, Luxembourg approved a bill allowing for same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.

He has dismissed concerns that same-sex marriage legislation might be viewed as a personal agenda, noting that the proposal was first drafted by the previous government:

"People who are against it, they will just blame you and say, 'We have unemployment, we have poverty, we have problems with housing, but this is his biggest priority?’ The text was ready. Why should we wait six months or a year just to [mollify] people who will always complain? When it was done, it was done."

After he was first elected in 1999, Bettel says that he received invitations addressed to 'Monsieur and Madame’ but people now know "if I'm not invited with Gauthier, I won't go."

Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Luxembourg next January.


Thursday Speed Read: Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch, Luxembourg, NOM, Scott Walker, Wisconsin

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PENNSYLVANIA IS SAFE AS NUMBER 19: Gaffney

A federal judge in Pennsylvania denied a petition Tuesday from a county clerk who asked to serve as intervenor in an appeal to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The register of wills for Schuylkill County petitioned U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III after Republican Governor Tom Corbett said he would not appeal Jones’ May 20 decision in Whitewood v. Wolf, declaring the state ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In his June 18 order, Jones said, “If the highest elected official in the Commonwealth chooses to abide by our decision, it defies credulity that we would permit a single citizen to stand in for him to perfect an appeal.”

HatchEXECUTIVE WRESTLING:

Just as President Obama’s staff is putting together an executive order to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) posted a statement Tuesday on his senate website saying he thinks the order should include “the same religious protections that are included” in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate. That would not go over well with a growing number of LGBT activists and groups who are adamantly opposed to the religious exemptions in the current version of ENDA.

LuxembourgLUXEMBOURG MAKES 18:

The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies voted Wednesday to allow same-sex couples to marry. The vote came after two efforts to block the bill through a citizens’ petition failed to garner the 4,500 signatures necessary, according to Luxembourg Wort newspaper.  Seventeen other countries have marriage equality laws: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, England, and Wales. Scotland’s new law goes into effect later this year.

NOM-logoNOM RALLIES IN WASHINGTON:

Two former, failed, and potential Republican presidential candidates, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, are among the speakers slated for a rally against same-sex couples today in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage. A lot of rancor has been focused on another prominent keynoter: San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. State and local officials in California implored Cordileone to withdraw his participation, as did a number of LGBT groups; but he said he does not consider the event to be anti-gay in nature.

WalkerWISCONSIN GOVERNOR IN HOT SEAT:

Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker is in the hot seat over his refusal to state a position on same-sex marriage. In an editorial Tuesday, the Capital Times newspaper in Madison took him to task: "Here's a politician that used the gay marriage card with reckless abandon during his many election campaigns…. He constantly attacked proposals that would allow a couple other than a man and a woman to marry and was one of the key supporters of the amendment that wrote discrimination against gays into the state's constitution back in 2006…. Now, he says it doesn't make any difference what he believes. We beg to differ.”

BaldwinBALDWIN, OTHERS URGE DOJ HELP:

Openly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Mark Pocan from Wisconsin sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Monday, asking that the federal government recognize the marriages of same-sex couples in Wisconsin even though the state —at the moment— will not. Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general argues that the marriages are not valid because they took place before federal Judge Barbara Crabb’s issued an injunction against enforcement of the ban. Although she declared the ban unconstitutional on June 6, Crabb did not issue her injunction until June 13, the same day she issued a stay of her decision and the injunction.  

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Luxembourg Parliament Prepares To Vote On Gay Marriage

Luxembourg2Luxembourg, the small Grand Duchy that puts the “lux” in “Benelux”, is on track to legalize gay marriage by the end of 2014. Justice Minister Félix Braz announced earlier this year that the government would vote on a same-sex marriage bill this summer. The legal affairs committee in Luxembourg’s parliament Wednesday approved the proposed bill--n°6172A--which will now face a vote before all of parliament sometime “after the Pentecost holidays and before the summer”, the Luxemburger Wort reports: 

The bill, which also includes reforms on other aspects of family law, was first introduced at the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies in May 2012, and has taken over two years to pass to a vote in parliament.

Several changes were made along the way. Most importantly, same-sex couples were granted the right to both closed and open adoption. A previous version of the bill had foreseen that same-sex couples would only be allowed open adoption, in which birth parents retain access to information about their child.

The Luxembourg State Council, however, ruled that this was discriminatory and threatened to withhold approval should closed adoption not be made available to same-sex couples also.

Luxembourg, whose Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is openly gay, would become the 9th EU nation to legalize same-sex marriage if the bill is approved, joining the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, France and the UK.

(Photo via Instagram)


Luxembourg Swears In Openly Gay Prime Minister Xavier Bettel

Europe has its second openly gay prime minister, Reuters reports:

BettelLuxembourg swore in Xavier Bettel as its first openly gay prime minister on Wednesday, paving the way for the introduction of social reforms such as same-sex marriage.

Bettel replaces Jean-Claude Juncker, who was until Wednesday the European Union's longest-serving head of government, with 19 years in power. That distinction is now held by Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who took office in April 2005.

Bettel, whose deputy Etienne Schneider is also openly gay, is expected to introduce other changes like replacing religious instruction in school with more general ethics classes.

Bettel was previously mayor of Luxemboug city. Europe's other openly gay prime minister is Belgium's Elio Di Rupo.

Bettel told Buzzfeed that visibility for elected officials has improved quite a bit since he stepped into the political spotlight in the 90s:

"I once had a [female politician] who said I was more lady than her. But society is changing and what would be considered as not normal is fully normal nowadays. You can live your life as yourself and be considered as you are - not because you look like a politician who is married and with children."


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