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Same-Sex Marriage Begins in Scotland: VIDEO

SCOTLAND

Same-sex marriage is officially underway in Scotland. The nation's first same-sex wedding happened just moments ago, uniting Joe Schofield and Malcolm Brown at a humanist ceremony at the Trades Hall in Glasgow. Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott are also to be among the nation's first same-sex couples to tie the knot. Scotland's new marriage law went into effect earlier this month but couples had to wait the 15 days required by Scottish law before saying "I do." The BBC reports:

[First minister] Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP will act as witnesses at the marriage of Susan and Gerrie, while Scotland's national poet Liz Lochhead and Scottish government minister Marco Biagi MSP are expected to attend the ceremony for Mr Schofield and Mr Brown.

A total of 250 couples have converted their civil partnerships to marriage since the new law - the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill - came into effect on 16 December.

Scotland's first minister said: "This a momentous day for equality in Scotland, one where same sex couples have the right to marry the person that they love.

"I am personally proud that as Health Secretary, I led the consultation which started this journey. I said then that it was the right thing to do, and I believe that today.

"This will send a powerful message to people about the kind of country we are."

According to the Scottish government, 17 same-sex couples are expected to marry on Hogmanay.

UK BuzzFeed reporter Jamie Ross has been live tweeting the wedding of Schofield and Brown. Check out video and photo highlights of the couple's happy day, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UKIP Parliamentary Candidate Claims 'Gay Donkey' Attempted to Rape His Horse - WATCH

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Video has surfaced of John Rees-Evans, a candidate running for a parliamentary seat as a member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), regaling protesters with an account of saving his horse from being raped by a “gay donkey.” Rees-Evans brought the story up in response to being asked to share his thoughts on Dr. Julia Gasper, a fellow UKIP party member, who recently argued that “some homosexuals prefer sex with animals.”

“I’ve got a horse and it was there in the field,” Rees-Evans said to a cluster of chuckling anti-UKIP protesters. “[A]nd a donkey came up…which was male, and I’m afraid tried to rape my horse.”

Rees-Evans’s comments are but the latest in a string of recent gaffes made by UKIP members. As Tom Mendelsohn wrote in the Independent back in 2013, however, the racist, sexist, and homophobic ethos at the center of the party aren’t exactly new or all that surprising:

“Ukip is now learning this the hard way, like the frothing neo-feudalist cowboys that they are, as more and more of their ‘flamboyant’, ‘opinionated’ rank and file show their true colours (white, inevitably). They were always going to eat themselves up eventually, but the pace at which they’re falling from grace is rattling my eyeballs.

Ukip has always been an uneasy coalition of two broad types of buffoon – gimlet-eyed turbo-Thatcherite libertarians and swivel-eyed little-Englander Nimbys with great big woodies for the Empire as was.”

Watch the clip of UKIP party candidate John Rees-Evan telling the harrowing tale of saving his horse from being sexually assaulted by a gay donkey, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Right-wing UK Candidate Resigns After Being Exposed Calling Gays 'Disgusting' - AUDIO

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Kerry Smith, a now former parliamentary candidate for the United Kingdom’s Independence Party was met with abrupt pushback earlier this month after being recorded referring to Chinese minorities as “chinky” and gay people as “disgusting old poofters.” According to UKIP’s economics spokesman Patrick O’Flynn, Kerry attributed his racist and homophobic outburst to the prescription painkillers he’d been using at the time. Smith withdrew his parliamentary bid after recordings of his racist and homophobic remarks were made public.

“I want the best for South Basildon and East Thurrock and I want to see the real issues discussed that touch the lives of people,” Smith said in a public statement. “Therefore I have chosen to resign so that UKIP can win this seat next May.”

“What I am pleased about is that he has resigned and stood down, whether he was on sedatives or not,” said UKIP deputy chair Suzanne Evans. “I think the party wholeheartedly accepts that is wasn’t a good enough excuse and we are all delighted that he has done the decent thing and fallen on his sword.”

In 2012 Smith came under fire for a phone call in which he was overheard making jokes about “shooting peasants” and calling UKIP’s immigration spokesman Steven Wolfe a “fucking carpetbagger.”

“The fact that we have someone who has made racist and homophobic language has gone within 24 hours shows the strength of the team behind us who are making sure that we have no one in this party who has such views representing our party and the people that vote for us,” Wolfe said.

Listen to Smith's damning phone call, AFTER THE JUMP...

[photo via screenshot]

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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.


Erasure Song Inspires London Tube Sing-Along: VIDEO

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While waiting for the Tube in Kentish Town, North London, a man decided to pass the time by bursting into a musical number, as ITV points out. While the impulse may be fairly common, this man did what many only dreamed of and brazenly threw caution to the wind. His tune of choice? Erasure's 80s hit "A Little Respect." Soon, the entire crowd waiting on the platform got in on the sing-along.

Watch as the travelers appeal for a little respect, AFTER THE JUMP...

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British ACT UP Activists Dump Cow Dung Outside Anti-Gay Party's Offices On World AIDS Day: VIDEO

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ACT UP: London is back, and they aren't taking any more B.S. 

Activists from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power say they dumped half a ton of cow dung outside the UK Independent Party's South London headquarters on Monday, in response to statements by UKIP leader Nigel Farage that people living with HiV should be barred from migrating to Britain.  

Gay Star News reports that the World AIDS Day action symbolizes a resurgence for ACT UP: London, which has been less visible over the last 10 years. 

Activists adorned the "fresh and steaming" pile of crap with a red AIDS ribbon and also hung a banner saying "what goes around comes around." 

ACT UP's Gary Hunter said: 

“We’ve had enough of UKIP’s misinformation and offensive attacks on minorities. We wanted to show Farage that people living with HIV aren’t going to take his B.S. any longer – so we’ve returned it. The vile crap that UKIP keeps spreading stigmatises and ostracises people living with HIV, gay people and immigrants. We thought this steaming pile of muck was a great representation of what we, as HIV-positive people, think of UKIP’s agenda.”

Earlier this year, when asked what types of people should be allowed to migrate to Britain, Farage told Newsweek Europe:  

"People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”

The U.K. has never barred immigrants with HIV, even at the height of fear and stigma in the 1980s. Only 12 percent of countries currently deport people with HIV, and the US lifted its HIV travel ban in 2009. 

Farage is not the only member of UKIP to make homophobic comments of late. Earlier this year, UKIP suspended its councillor David Silvester after he said flooding that hit the UK in December and January was caused by same-sex marriage. And last month, the former deputy leader of UKIP, Lord Christopher Monckton, said gay people lead a "deathstyle" and have up to 20,000 partners in their "short, miserable lives." 

ACT UP activist Mario Azeitona said: 

"UKIP keep saying that they speak for ordinary British people, but the vast majority of people totally reject their poisonous views. We are sending a message back to them that they do not represent the Britain most of us know – based on respect, solidarity and community. We hope others who’ve been targeted by UKIP follow our lead so that wherever Farage goes he meets people rejecting his crap and returning it to him. UKIP stink, so Farage better get used to the smell of his own B.S.”

Watch ACT UP activist Dan Glass explain the protest in a video, AFTER THE JUMP ...  

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