Judge Overturns Gay Marriage Ban In Florida Keys

A judge in the Florida Keys has overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage after a legal challenge by six gay couples said it effectively made them second-class citizens.

The ruling was issued Thursday by Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia and applies only to Monroe County, which covers the Keys. The lawsuit contended that the same-sex marriage ban approved by voters in 2008 violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. The judge says licenses could be issued starting Tuesday.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and ban supporters argued that the referendum vote should be respected and that Florida has sole authority to define marriage in the state. The Florida amendment defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

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US: Judge opens up same-sex marriage in one Florida county

Same-sex couples in Monroe County, Florida, will soon be able to marry Share on WhatsApp 0 reader comments

A judge in the Florida Keys has ruled in favour of same-sex marriage, overturning its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The ruling by Circuit Judge Luis M Garcia, and comes after a legal challenge to Florida’s same-sex marriage ban by six gay couples.

The couples argued that while they were banned from marrying, they were considered second class citizens.

Judge Garcia’s ruling only applies to Monroe County, which includes Florida Keys.

Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was approved by voters in 2008, but the lawsuit argues that it violates same-sex couples’ guarantee of equal protection under the law, as dictated by the US Constitution.

Attorney general Pam Bondi, and supporters of the ban, argued that the amendment should be respected, because it was voter approved. Bondi argued that the state has the authority to define marriage there.

Same-sex couples could begin to receive marriage licences from Tuesday.

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Voz Workers’ Rights Education, Immigrant Nonprofit, Loses Catholic Grant Over Gay Marriage Stance

A Catholic organization has decided to cut off long-standing funding to a Portland immigrant rights group that works with day laborers over its affiliation with an organization that supports same-sex marriage.

Voz Workers’ Rights Education lost a $75,000 grant in June from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which is the national anti-poverty, social justice program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Catholic Campaign director Ralph McCloud said the group asked Voz to cut ties with the National Council of La Raza, a large Latino civil rights organization that endorses marriage equality, to be considered for the grant. Voz has been an affiliate of NCLR since 2009, primarily as a grantee.

After Voz refused to cut its ties, the organization “self-disqualified” itself from the funding process, McCloud said.

In June, the bishops approved more than $14 million in grants to 205 organizations. The bishops had supported Voz since 1994, via 10 grants, McCloud said.

“It’s certainly difficult and painful, because Voz has done some tremendous work,” McCloud said. “But it became obvious that they were assisting in something that was contrary to the teachings of our traditions. And we have to honor our donors’ intent that this money be spent on issues that are not contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Voz is not the first nonprofit to lose church funding because of ties to organizations that endorse same-sex marriage.

A coalition of conservative Catholic groups led by the American Life League has criticized what it sees as lax administration by the Catholic Campaign and has been working since 2009 to call attention to CCHD grantees with activities, positions or affiliations with other nonprofits that contradict Church teachings on abortion, contraception and gay rights.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops conducted a review of the grant program and adopted several changes in 2010 that were designed to clarify the eligibility rules and strengthen the application review process. As a result of the review, nine nonprofits that were part of coalitions led by groups that supported reproductive rights or same-sex marriage no longer qualified for the funds, McCloud said. Others chose not to apply, or re-apply.

Community organizations serving immigrants and the poor in Colorado, Illinois, California and several other states have either had to decide whether to forgo their grants or sever their relationships with larger groups whose views the church considers problematic.

The lost grant represents a large bulk of Voz’s annual budget of $310,000, said Voz director Romeo Sosa. But he said the decision to withdraw from the grant competition allowed Voz to maintain its values.

“Marriage equality is not the focus of our work; we focus on immigrant rights. But we work with everyone, we don’t discriminate,” Sosa said. “There may be gays and lesbians among our staff or workers, and we can’t turn our backs on them.”

Local labor, immigrant rights, and groups that support gay rights have vowed to fundraise for Voz to fill the financial hole left by the grant’s loss.

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Australia: Second poll confirms rise in support for marriage equality

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A poll has corroborated earlier findings that suggested support for marriage equality had surged.

A Crosby Textor poll earlier this week found that 72% of Australians support the introduction of same-sex marriage, with just 21% opposed, despite continued opposition within the government.

The figures had been markedly surprising, given the previous high had been 64% support.

However, data released by Newspoll confirms the findings, with a second poll finding that marriage equality has 68% support, with 4 out of 10 strongly in favour.

Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome said: “Newspoll has confirmed what we already knew from the Crosby Textor research, the community debate on marriage equality is over and it’s time for politicians to act.”

“We call on MPs to work together across party boundaries to achieve a reform the Australian people are firmly behind in ever greater numbers.”

AME deputy director, Ivan Hinton said “A great majority of Australians have opened their hearts to the issue of marriage equality, realising it will bring benefits to many families around the country and causes no harm to no one.”

Three years ago 49% of people were in favour of same-sex marriage, and 40% opposed, while a decade ago just 38% supported marriage equality.

The last vote on same-sex marriage in Australia was held in 2012, when the House of Representatives rejected it by a vote of 98-42, and the senate by 41-26.

The governing Liberal party has long opposed equal marriage, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott giving his backing to the successful fight to end the brief recognition of same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory last year.

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Macedonia: Parliament approves constitutional same-sex marriage ban

The country’s parliament has passed a same-sex marriage ban Share on WhatsApp 14 reader comments

The Macedonian Assembly has approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The governing conservatives began the process to amend the constitution today, following their April election victory, which netted enough seats to secure a two-thirds majority vote.

The amendment would define marriage as exclusively a heterosexual union, between one man and one woman.

Government spokesperson Aleksandar Gjorgjiev, of the VMRO-DPMNE party, said: “The constitutional protection and the clear defining of marriage will allow further protection of children and affirmation of their upbringing in a family atmosphere in which the main pillars are the parents, the father and mother.”

The country’s Pride parade was cancelled last year, following safety concerns and a rise in the number of homophobic attacks.

Macedonian president Gjorge Ivanov, has previously claimed that discrimination against lesbian and gay people is a myth.

He claimed: “Our system discriminates against no-one. Homosexuals stigmatise themselves and think they are in an underprivileged position.

“In general, I support the pluralism of life styles of the subculture groups

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US: Democrats in Wisconsin ask state to cease defence of same-sex marriage ban

The letter asks Governor Scott Walker to stop defending the ban Share on WhatsApp 0 reader comments

Democrats in the US state of Wisconsin have asked the state’s Attorney General and Governor to cease their defence of a law banning same-sex couples from marrying.

US District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban on Friday 6 June, leading to some counties issuing marriage licences immediately, and allowing more than 500 gay and lesbian couples to wed.

However, after Attorney General JB Van Hollen appealed, on Friday 13 June Crabb agreed to halt her ruling, stopping all new marriages until the appeal concludes. Last Thursday, Van Hollen finally filed his appeal. 

Now 15 state senators have written to Van Hollen and Governor Scott Walker, urging them to cease their defence of the ban, stating that they are wasting taxpayer money in doing so.

According to reports, a spokesperson for the Van Hollen states that he is doing his job in defending the ban.

Arguments in the case will be heard on 13 August in Chicago.

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US: First ever Mississippi mayor states support for equal marriage

The mayor of Waveland said he supported same-sex marriage Share on WhatsApp 4 reader comments

The first ever mayor in the US state of Mississippi has declared his support for same-sex marriage.

Waveland Mayor David Garcia, signed up to Freedom to Marry’s list of mayors in support of same-sex marriage.

“We know many people in loving and committed same-sex relationships who are active participants in improving our communities, and we’ve seen how important marriage has been for them and their families,” Garcia said in a statement.

“Because I believe in fairness for all American families, I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples willing to take on that commitment.”

The group is an initiative of Freedom to Marry, a national same-sex marriage advocacy group, and has hundreds of mayors signed up. 

A Mississippi law that legalises anti-gay discrimination on the grounds of

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