More good news: Maryland Senate approves marriage equality bill in preliminary vote

The Washington Blade reports:

The Maryland Senate voted 25-22 in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples today. It was a preliminary vote that followed debate over amendments. Final passage of the bill in the chamber could come Thursday.

—  John Wright

Delaware may be next civil unions state

Delaware State Capitol

With a marriage bill advancing in neighboring Maryland, Delaware lawmakers have proposed civil unions for that state, according to WBOC in Dover.

Equality Delaware helped craft the legislation. The bill is intended to give couples with a civil union the same state rights as married couples and gives religious groups an exemption from participating.

A poll released this week shows that 48 percent of people in Delaware support full marriage equality. Only 31 percent were strongly opposed. Others were not sure or fell in the middle. In neighboring Maryland, where a marriage bill is close to passing, 51 percent of the population supports marriage equality.

Delaware Right to Marry statewide director Bill Humphrey said that opposition to marriage equality “dropped dramatically” in states like Vermont and Massachusetts as people saw firsthand that same-sex marriage has no negative impact on their lives.

—  David Taffet

What’s Brewing: R.I. gay marriage bill, sports columnist comes out, Neil Patrick Harris

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. On Wednesday we told you how Rhode Island’s new governor, Lincoln Chafee, called for marriage equality during his inaugural address. Well, it turns out that Rhode Island legislators plan to introduce a same-sex marriage bill today, and Chafee’s support is crucial to their strategy. The Human Rights Campaign says Rhode Island is one of three states — along with Maryland and New York — where marriage equality is possible this year. At the same time, there’s been a marriage equality bill introduced in Rhode Island’s Assembly every year since 1997, but none has ever made it to a floor vote.

2. Longtime Boston Herald sports columnist Steve Buckley came out as gay in a column published today. Buckley says he regrets that he told his mother he would come out seven years ago, but then she died and he kept putting it off — until now. “It’s my hope that from now on I’ll be more involved” in the LGBT community, Buckley writes. “I’m not really sure what I mean by being ‘involved,’ but this is a start: I’m gay.”

3. Neil Patrick Harris wins People’s Choice Award, recognizes husband and kids on stage (video above).

—  John Wright

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

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