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January 6, 2015

Gay couples can now hold symbolic weddings without interference or fines

Gay marriage is no longer banned in Vietnam under an amendment to marriage law that came into effect on 1 January.

Same-sex couples can now hold symbolic weddings and cohabitate without interference or fines from authorities.

However, they will not receive the same rights as straight married couples, a halfway point some lawmakers have hailed as the first step towards marriage equality.

January 5, 2015

Tomorrow, rest of Florida to become 36th state in the US with marriage equality

Same-sex couples began getting married today in Florida's Miami-Dade County with other counties in the state expected to follow on Tuesday (6 January).

Judge Sarah Zabel of the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit got things rolling by lifting a stay on her ruling - issued last July - that struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.

The courtroom erupted in cheers when Zabel asked if it would make a difference if she lifted the stay today or tomorrow. When told it would not make a difference she said: 'I'm lifting the stay.'

December 31, 2014

Two couples celebrated the change in Scottish law by getting married just after the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay

The first same-sex marriages have taken place in Scotland this morning.

The first couples to marry today were Joe Schofield and Malcolm Brown, both 42, who married in a Humanist ceremony at 00.01 (31 December) at the Trades Hall in Glasgow.

Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott, 54 and 59 respectively, married at the same time in a civil ceremony at a private venue, also in Glasgow. The Douglas-Scotts, who have been together 18 years, had previously entered a civil partnership with one another in 2006 and have five grown-up children.

December 23, 2014

Fairy toy comes with a skirt, high heels, wings — and a penis

A fairy toy dubbed 'the world’s first transgender doll' has shocked parents in Argentina who are afraid it could 'influence' their children’s sexuality.

The discount Fashion Happy doll is made in China and comes with a skirt, high heels, decorative fairy wings — and a penis.

It is unknown whether the 'genitalia' is intentional or a factory defect.

Either way, the doll has shocked parents in Argentina after the mother of a three-year-old girl posted a picture of the toy on Facebook that went viral.

December 22, 2014

But only Congress can legalize gay marriage

The Philippine presidential palace yesterday (21 December) said it 'respects' the rights of gay couples to marry but any plans to legalize same-sex marriage had to come from Congress.

During a radio interview, Malacañang Palace communications secretary Herminio Coloma Jr was asked to comment on the recent marriage of transgender singer Aiza Seguerra to his actress girlfriend, Liza Dino, in California.

December 22, 2014

Governing party vehemently opposes marriage equality and controls both the presidency and the legislature

The judiciary committee of Taiwan’s legislature today (22 December) held a hearing on two same-sex marriage legislations proposed by members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

This marked the first time a legislative debate on same-sex marriage was conducted in Taiwan, as the governing party, the Chinese Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT) vehemently opposes marriage equality and blocked all efforts in the past.

December 6, 2014

Two protestors threatened to chop off the head off Reverend Jackie Carter and put it on a stake

Threatening voicemail messages, rocks thrown at her door and a gruesome message from someone who wanted to behead her. These are all the things Reverend Jackie Carter has had to deal with since she has started performing gay marriages.

Carter is a minister at First Metropolitan Community Church in Wichita, Kansas where gay marriage has been legal for less than a month.

December 4, 2014

Catholic church launches a 16-page pastoral statement against gay marriage

The Irish church has said the legalization of gay marriage would be a 'grave injustice' in a 16-page pastoral statement it is distributing ahead of a referendum on the issue early next year.

The pamphlet, titled The Meaning of Marriage, was launched yesterday (3 December) at the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference in Maynooth, and is currently being distributed to more than 1,300 parishes across the country.

The statement said that 'to redefine the nature of marriage would be to undermine it as the fundamental building block of our society.'

December 3, 2014

'Same-sex marriage is simply not possible under this government'

Greek justice minister Haralambos Athanasiou yesterday categorically said gay marriage was impossible under the current government despite criticism from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

'This is a country that respects traditions, respects the nature of man and [gay] marriage is simply not possible, at least under this government and this ministry,' he told Mega TV.

'I will not discuss it; I will not even consider it.'

November 30, 2014

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg has allowed couples to marry for free under its roof for a day to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage in South Carolina, and the couples didn’t even need to book ahead

A Unitarian Universalist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state by marrying couples for free for a day.

The church opened its doors last Sunday to couples regardless of sexuality from midday to 4pm, marrying them on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Local photographers volunteered to photograph the couples’ weddings and a local bakery donated cupcakes to serve as wedding cakes for the newly weds and their families after the ceremonies.

November 26, 2014

'I think people ought to have the freedom to choose their own life path'

Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm today (26 November) introduced his long-awaited gay marriage bill in parliament.

The straight Liberal Democrat told the upper house that he supported gay marriage 'because I think people ought to have the freedom to choose their own life path.'

'To most people, marriage equality means the right to get married irrespective of gender or sexual preference,' he said.

'But it is much more than that; it is the right to live your life as you choose and not have the government impose a particular view on you.'

November 26, 2014

Ceremony is Rio de Janeiro state's fifth such event since 2011

Rio de Janeiro married 160 LGBTI couples on Sunday (23 November) in what the state hailed as 'the largest collective same-sex civil wedding ceremony in the world.'

The event was the fifth mass gay wedding organized by state program Rio Without Homophobia and the state court, which have married a total 500 LGBTI couples.

'It is an affirmative action to call attention to all of the achievements and challenges in the area of civil and human rights of the LGBT community,' Cláudio Nascimento, coordinator of Rio Without Homophobia, told Agência Brasil.

November 24, 2014

Baja California officials then find 'inconsistencies' in their paperwork

The first gay wedding in the Mexican state of Baja California had to be postponed again after a registry official refused to perform the ceremony and then announced a bomb threat.

After a 19-month legal battle, hairstylists Victor Aguirre Espinoza, 43, and Fernando Urias Amparo, 37, were supposed to be the first gay couple to marry in the northwestern state on Friday (21 November).

The couple arrived at Mexicali city hall both dressed in white suits in defiance the dozen Catholic protesters praying outside.

November 19, 2014

Same-sex couples can begin getting married immediately after marriage ban is struck down

Same-sex couples in Montana don't have to wait any longer to get married.

A federal judge on Wednesday (19 November) struck down the state's gay marriage ban passed by voters in the state in 2004.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris did not issue a stay on his decision which stated the ban was in violation of the 14th amendment of the constitution that guarantees equal protection.

November 10, 2014

Transgender bride cannot change her gender on offical documents so the union is legal

Two women have become the first gay couple to register their marriage in Russia despite laws banning same-sex unions.

Alyona Fursova and Irina Shumilova arrived at a St Petersburg registry on Friday both wearing white wedding dresses and carried bouquets.

The Family Code of Russia states that marriage is 'a voluntary consent of a man and a woman' but the couple found a loophole in the law.

Fursova is transgender and on hormone therapy and despite looking and living as a woman, she is unable to change her gender on legal documents.

November 1, 2014

'State officials don't get to pick and choose what laws they need to follow,' says ACLU of North Carolina legal director Chris Brook

At least six magistrates in North Carolina have resigned rather than be forced to officiate same-sex weddings after a federal court decision legalized same-sex unions in the state on October 10, the Charlotte Observer reported this week.

When the federal decision was handed down, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said all state agencies would comply. State Senator Phil Berger however asked to the courts to grant protections to public officials who refuse to perform same-sex ceremonies for religious reasons. It was denied.

October 28, 2014

'It is a very serious matter; same-sex marriage is totally contrary to the standard of God.'

The Westboro Baptist Church has lodged a legal brief against the ongoing legal challenge against gay marriage in Kansas.

The 'God Hates Fags' church filed a 22-page legal brief, claiming same-sex marriage is an issue that will 'destroy' the state.

'Today the number one moral issue facing this nation is same sex marriage,' they write, in the brief filed on 26 October.

October 26, 2014

Speaking at the group's national conference, he warned against using religion as an 'instrument for division or exclusion'

It's the first time a leader of either major political party has used the forum to challenge the agenda of the conservative lobby group which has consistency and strongly opposed same-sex marriage, gay adoption rights, and anti-discrimination laws.

Bill Shorten, leader of the opposition Labor Party, confronted the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) on same-sex marriage, telling them he is a Christian who supports marriage equality.

'I believe in God and I believe in marriage equality,' the keynote speaker told the ACL national conference in Canberra on Saturday.

October 23, 2014

Think homosexuality is unnatural still? You won't believe what these 11 animals are getting up to

You might have heard the quote that homosexuality exists in every single species on the planet but homophobia is found in only one: Humans.

But what is ‘homosexuality’ in animals?

Most zoologists would probably prefer you to say they are showing ‘same-sex attraction or behavior’, rather than label them with our words of ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ or ‘straight’.

But very often animals can form relationships and bonds with others and do not stray away from them. Some show exclusive interest in only one gender and have their own ways of mating with the same sex.

October 22, 2014

Butch Otter, up for reelection, wants entire 9th Circuit Court to re-hear case

Same-sex marriages have begun in Idaho but the state's governor is still hoping that will be a temporary thing.

Butch Otter, who is up for reelection, announced Tuesday (21 October) that he plans to ask the full 11-member 9th Circuit Court to re-hear the case which successfully challenged the state's gay marriage ban.

It was a three-judge panel from the Circuit Court who overturned the ban.

Otter maintains that errors when it struck down the ban on 7 October.

October 18, 2014

'This is not an issue of people's rights to have religious beliefs… This is their job, and it's a job requirement,' says executive director of the LGBT non-profit Equality NC

Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam Jr says he has resigned from his job because he can’t in 'good conscience' marry same-sex couples.

On October 10, 2014, same-sex marriage in North Carolina became legal following a federal judge's ruling that the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional. Same-sex couples were immediately issued marriage licenses, and on Monday, October 13, same-sex couples statewide began marrying.

October 17, 2014

Judge strikes down same-sex marriage ban, attorney general announces state will not fight decision

Arizona has become the 31st state in the US where gay marriage is legal and same-sex couples began getting married there today.

Deputy Maricopa County Clerk Michael K Jeanes posted on Twitter: 'Welcome All to the Clerk's Office. Your marriage license awaits and we are ready to serve you!'

The turn of events unfolded quickly as Attorney General Tom Horne announced he would not appeal the court ruling which struck down Arizona's gay marriage ban.

October 15, 2014

State's governor and attorney general accused of 'playing politics with our families'

The state of South Carolina was sued Wednesday (15 October) by two LGBTI groups for continuing to block same-sex marriages from taking place there.

Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality claim that last week's decision by the US Supreme Court’s to let stand a 4th Circuit ruling striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban also applies to South Carolina because it is in the same jurisdiction.

They want the marriages to begin immediately.

October 12, 2014

'They deserve the right to equality, and the same respect and decency that other people have that are living right next door'