Rick Vanderslice makes radio show international

By the time you read this, Rick Vanderslice has already been out of the country for a day and is probably lounging on the beaches of South America. Vanderslice, the veteran broadcaster, who has hosted a very gay, liberal-leaning talk show at Rational Radio for a few years, has decided to take a escape the revenuers and head south (well, that’s my take on it). But that doesn’t mean the show it going anywhere.

Rick called me last week to say he was taking about six months to head for Argentina — only his third sabbatical in a long career. He’s not sure how long he’ll be there, he said (probably six months or so) but until he’s back on Texas soil, he will do the radio show via Skype, every weekday afternoon. (It may be a week or so before they work the kinks out, he said, so be patient for its return.)

He plans to have a few more international guests as well, including a semi-regular contributor who will also Skype from Moscow. But he’ll still deal with some local issues, so expect Dallas folks to keep appearing on the show. (I’ll still be contributing on occasion, when they ask me.)

Rick is also gonna be sending the Voice updates from Argentina, little postcards about gay life in South America.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

10 countries now allow same-sex marriage

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A leading rights group says 10 countries have legalized same-sex marriage in the past decade.

But Human Rights Watch said in a survey released Monday that bias continues against people who want to marry people of the same gender in those 10 countries and many others.

Boris O. Dittrich of the group’s gay rights program says that the growing number of countries legalizing same-sex marriage demonstrates progress in sexual equality around the world.

The first same-sex marriages took place in the Netherlands on April 1, 2001. The countries that followed were Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina.

—  John Wright

Ecuador is latest South American country to consider marriage equality; Bolivia may follow

A bill to allow civil marriage will be introduced in Ecuador’s National Assembly on Thursday, according to the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

In 2008, Ecuador adopted a new constitution that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Bolivia has a similar provision in its new constitution called “The Law Against Racism and All Types of Discrimination.” The LGBT rights group Equidad participated in a presentation and analysis of the Bolivian provision chaired by a member of the National Assembly. Recommendations will be made this week, and they’ll presumably include a marriage equality law.

This summer, South America has been a hotbed of equality legislation. Marriage equality passed in Argentina. An upgrade from civil unions in Uruguay, which have been legal for several years, is being debated. Civil union bills also have been introduced in Chile and Peru.

Chilean Senator Fulvio Rossi, who introduced the bill there, doesn’t expect it to pass. El Mercurio doesn’t predict what the chances are for passage of the bill in Ecuador.

Translation assistance by Miguel Flores.

—  David Taffet

In support of meaningless gay sex as it’s existed since Biblical times

Marriage equality got a big boost last week from Judge Vaughn Walker who threw out California’s Proposition 8 based on all evidence showing it was discriminatory and no evidence or witnesses offering any reason to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying — other than because they said so.

The next day, the Mexican Supreme Court handed down a decision upholding marriage equality in Mexico City by a decision of 8-2 Reports have come out today saying that the Supreme Court there has ruled that not only is Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law constitutional, but same-sex couples legally married in Mexico City have to be recognized as legally married throughout Mexico, even by those states that don’t allow gays to marry, according to CNN Mexico.

An unscientific Fox News poll shows (what Fox News poll really IS scientific?) showed more than 70 percent agree with the Judge Walker’s ruling.

So we have marriage in all three North American capitals, across Canada and in five U.S. states. Marriage in Argentina. Marriage being debated in Uruguay and civil unions proposed in Chile, Paraguay and Costa Rica. And you can hardly find a European country anymore that doesn’t treat gays, lesbians and straights equally.

The world is getting more and more difficult for those of us who believe in hot, sweaty, meaningless gay sex as it’s existed since Biblical times.

While I understand the right people have to get married, little has been said lately for those of us who don’t want to marry. Ever.

First there’s the wedding. I hate weddings — gay or straight. I always have. I avoid them like the plague.

Pretending to be happy for the couple. Shopping for the gifts — especially if they’ve registered someplace I’m boycotting. Dressing up in something other than my trademark sneakers. Weddings, to me, are torture.

Next there are those 1,000-plus benefits married couples get. There are also a few I’ve benefited from over the years that unmarried people enjoy.

A former partner and I bought a house in Dallas and a house on Cedar Creek Lake. He homesteaded the Dallas house. I homesteaded the Henderson County house. A married couple can only homestead one property but Texas didn’t recognize our relationship so this was completely legal. They can’t have it both ways.

As a homesteaded Henderson County resident, albeit only two days a week, I registered my car at the county courthouse in Athens for less than it would have cost in Dallas and as a bonus got lower insurance rates as well. (This was long before gay-friendly Progressive Insurance came along. That company happily calls my current domestic partner and me a couple — cheap ploy to get ALL of our business.)

For older Americans, social security benefits are often lower for couples than for singles. My father and his wife never got a civil marriage because their monthly pension check would have been lower as a couple than they received as singles.

But one of the biggest benefits is not taking on the debt of, or dividing the wealth with, your dead-beat ex-husband. A married couple, especially in a community property state, divides all wealth and all debts equally between spouses.

So in divorce number 13, I would have had to give up some of my stuff and gotten nothing from him. And in divorce number 17, I would have acquired half of his massive Neiman Marcus bill.

Marriage? No thank you. I’ll stick to uncommitted, meaningless relationships as they’ve existed since Biblical times. Maybe even longer. (And yes, therapy’s been recommended — by friends, co-workers and Candy Marcum.)

—  David Taffet

Peru jumps on South American equality bandwagon with proposed civil union law

Jose Vargas

A congressman from the ruling party in Peru will introduce a civil union bill in the legislature, according to the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

The bill would give same-sex couples the same economic rights as married opposite-sex couples but would not allow them to adopt.

The bill will be introduced by José Vargas of the APRA ruling party, but he will do so as an individual, not on behalf of his party in, to avoid jeopardizing the current government. He urged support from all political sides.

According to the website Living In Peru, the gay movement in Lima was surprised about the legislation and said Vargas acted on his own without consulting them. The community fears a civil union law could prevent marriage equality in the future.

Last week Argentina legalized same-sex marriage. Uruguay began debating upgrading its civil union law to marriage. A marriage law was introduced in the legislature in Paraguay, and Chile began debating civil unions.

Translation assistance by Miguel Flores.

—  David Taffet

It’s official in Argentina: President Cristina Fernandez signs gay marriage bill into law

Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez, signed into law on Wednesday a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. From the Associated Press:

“Today we are a society that is a little more egalitarian than last week,” Fernandez said at the signing ceremony.

Representatives of groups for gays and lesbians cheered, crying out “Equality, equality!”

The law, which was approved by the Senate last week following earlier endorsement by the lower house, grants same-sex couples the full legal protections and responsibilities that marriage gives to heterosexual couples, including the ability to inherit property and to jointly adopt children.

Washington-based LGBT leader Bob Witeck happened to be in Argentina for Wednesday’s ceremony. Via Rex Wockner, here’s a portion of Witeck’s report:

In her office, after her official act was complete, she was captivating, dramatic, ebullient, intense and embracing — still touched by the poignancy of the signing ceremony itself.  After she signed the legislation in the public space downstairs, we witnessed hundreds of the attendees inside the room and outside as well, begin to press forward to touch her, hug her, hand her flowers, seek photos with her — in a throbbing human crush that probably mirrors the passionate nature of Argentinian public life most of us merely know from history or films. It was a scene of such emotion that as a lifelong resident of Washington DC, I cannot imagine any such event resembling this scene taking place in the White House or in many executive mansions — and simply because of the risk of physical harm alone to the President or others in the pushing, pressing and jubilant crowd on the floor.

Witeck points us to this Spanish-language blog that has posted a three-part video of the ceremony. We’ve posted the final segment above.

—  admin

Goal!!!!! Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage

You can finally stay in a country in the New World, get married to your same-sex partner and not learn to ice skate. Yes, Mexico City approved it, but it’s not national law there, just like it’s not here; you had to go to Canada to stay in the West and be legally gay.

Of course, you have to go south of the border. Really far south, too.

Early this morning, the senate in Argentina voted to approved a gay marriage bill which had already passed the lower house. All that’s left is for the president to sign the bill, which seems certain.

Of course, there have been protests, mostly organized by the Catholic Church in Argentina. But see, there’s this thing, called separation of church and state. Maybe the Mormons in the U.S. need to read about it. After all, Argentina is a Catholic nation; so is Spain. And they have same-sex marriage despite protests. It’s called governing. It’s called fairness. It’s what the U.S. is supposed to be about.

Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry issued this statement:

“Today’s historic vote shows how far Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic values, and how far the freedom to marry movement has come as twelve countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality. Argentina’s vote for the freedom to marry marks an important advance for fairness and family values as more couples around the world will now share in marriage, with families helped and no one hurt. Today’s vote adds momentum to the international movement to secure the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples. Key to Argentina’s human rights achievement was strong leadership from legislators and the president. It is time we see more of our own elected officials standing up for the Constitution and all families here in the United States. America should lead, not lag, when it comes to treating everyone equally under the law.”

It’s a little late to lead, guys. But if we must follow, let’s hope our politicians don’t follow too far behind.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

ARGENTINA: Supreme Court Poised To Rule In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

According to the below CBC report, even if Argentina’s Senate votes against same-sex marriage today, the nation’s Supreme Court has already written a ruling to legalize it and is just waiting for the result of the vote. The vote may not come until very late tonight/early tomorrow NYC time. But if the CBC’s report is accurate, the win is already in the bag!

(Tipped by JMG reader Linda)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

True political courage: Argentina’s president speaks out in support of gay marriage

Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies voted back in May to grant full marriage rights to same-sex couples, and right now we are waiting on word of how the country’s Senate voted on the measure. That vote is supposed to happen sometime today.

Although polls show that about 70 percent of Argentinians support gay marriage, debate over the issue has been heated, with the Roman Catholic Church there doing its best to defeat the gay marriage bill. In fact, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, on Sunday called the effort to legalize gay marriage it a “destructive attack on God’s plan” (from a report in The Times of India).

But if the measure passes the Senate, Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has already said she will sign it into law. And on Monday, the president made statements that put her head and shoulders above any other national leader when it comes to public support for same-sex marriage. Watch this video and see what true political courage looks like.

—  admin

Marriage equality makes progress in Latin America

Alex Freyre and Jose Maria di Bello
Alex Freyre and Jose Maria di Bello

The first same-sex marriage took place in Argentina this week.

Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage.

Ecuador, Brazil and Columbia are considering how to legalize same-sex relationships

Uruguay legalized same-sex adoptions.

In Argentina, where marriage equality is local-option, Buenos Aires legalized same-sex marriage. Alex Freyre and Jose Maria di Bello, a gay couple, applied for their marriage license. But before they could marry, a judge stepped in and stopped the marriage.

Argentina’s National Institute Against Xenophobia and Racism helped the couple and referred them to the gay-friendly governor of Argentina’s southernmost state, Tierra del Fuego. The governor issued Freyre and Maria di Bello a marriage license and this week they were married.

—  David Taffet