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May 24, 2015

'Referendums are held in this country where there's a proposal to change the constitution'

The Australian Prime Minister has dismissed the idea of his country holding a referendum on same-sex marriage after Ireland’s historic vote on 23 May.

Tony Abbott acknowledged it was important to millions of Australians and said he was taking the matter seriously, but marriage equality would be dealt with by the Federal Parliament.

‘Referendums are held in this country where there's a proposal to change the constitution,‘ he told reporters in Brisbane this morning.

May 23, 2015

Supporters of equality turned out in their hundreds of thousands

Ireland has become the first country to pass marriage equality by public vote today (23 May).

Supporters of equality turned out in their hundreds of thousands to support their belief that gay couples have the right to wed.

Revealed moments ago, the official result saw 62.1% voting in support and only 37.9% were against.

Nearly all constituencies votes Yes; only Roscommon South Leitrim saw No win, with a small minority of 51.4% of voters casting their vote against marriage equality. 

May 22, 2015

Probate judges must issue licenses to same-sex couples but ruling on hold until US Supreme Court rules on pending marriage cases

A federal judge has ordered all of Alabama's probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ruling handed down by US District Court Judge Callie Granade on Thursday (21 May) will take effect when the US Supreme Court issues its decision - expected in late June - in several pending marriage equality cases in four states.

Granade's ruling came after four leading civil rights organizations requested the court expand the ruling in a Mobile County lawsuit to cover all same-sex couples and probate judges in all of the state’s 67 counties.

May 21, 2015

Experts are warning while the opinion polls look positive, the result will still be very close

Supporters of equality in Ireland are being urged to go and vote tomorrow as experts warn the referendum on same-sex marriage could still go either way.

Despite opinion polls largely showing strong support for the Yes vote, there are fears the 'silent opposition' will overpower the outcome.

In a recent poll by the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI, it showed support for the Yes vote remains strong at 74% among a representative sample of 1,200 voters.

While clearly impressive, this is still six points down since the last poll in December.

May 20, 2015

'As long as I’m governor, we will fight to protect religious liberty and not apologize for it'

Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Tuesday (19 May) issued an executive order allowing businesses to turn away LGBTI customers, two hours after a House panel rejected a 'religious freedom' bill.

A bipartisan committee voted 10-2 to return HB 707 to the calendar, effectively killing the bill for this legislative session.

But the potential presidential hopeful then bypassed the legislature altogether and ordered the law to be enforced anyway.

May 17, 2015

US National Security Advisor warns of the United States taking further action over 'unconscionable' comments

The United States have slammed Gambia’s president for his unconscionable comments on gay men in his country.

According to the Human Rights Campain, Yahya Jammeh said he would slit the throats of men wanting to marry men in a public speech; a speech he gave last year also drew criticism from rights groups when the president called homosexuals ‘ungodly’ and ‘vermin’.

Susan Rice, the US National Security Advisor, did not quote Jammeh but called his comments part of an ‘alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation’ in Gambia.

May 15, 2015

Xavier Bettel is only the second worldwide leader to marry someone of the same sex

Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, is marrying his partner today (15 May).

He is the first European Union leader, and only the second leader worldwide, to marry someone of the same sex.

Bettel and his partner Gauthier Destenay are set to marry in a private ceremony at Luxembourg's City Hall. Only friends and family are invited, with no press or photographers allowed.

Writing on his Twitter, Bettel said: 'Thank you for your kind messages. We just have one life, live it.'

May 15, 2015

City welcomes women in polygamous marriages but not same-sex partners

A British lesbian Thursday (14 May ) launched a landmark challenge against the Hong Kong government after she was refused a dependent visa to live in the Chinese city with her partner.

The woman in the 40s, who can only be identified as QT, entered into a civil partnership in 2011. She moved to Hong Kong later that year after her partner SS was offered a tech job in the territory with a global firm.

QT applied for a dependent visa – in 2012 and 2014 – but was refused both times.

May 14, 2015

Gay man went to go to the North Hollywood dry cleaners to get four throw pillows cleaned, but one of them was torn and damaged

A dry cleaner in North Hollywood is being accused of homophobia after allegedly calling a customer a 'buggerer' and 'sodomite'.

Byron Batistaa says he went to Rosali Cleaners to have four throw pillows laundered. When he returned to collect them, three were cleaned but the fourth was torn and damaged.

When he complained, the owner accused him of doing something bizarre.

'[They] blamed me and said I tore them apart all the while running behind her counter, flipping me off and pretending to stick her finger in her backside,' Batista told Frontiers.

May 13, 2015

'And no white person can do anything about it'

The Gambia's notoriously anti-gay President Yahya Jammeh has threatened to slit the throats of gay men in the small West African nation and said there was nothing the West could do to stop him.

The dictator, who seized power in a bloody coup in 1994, made the inflammatory comments last week during a stop on a nationwide agricultural tour.

VICE News obtained a translation of Jammeh's speech, which was about fostering a healthy atmosphere for the country's youth.

May 11, 2015

'He has turned down requests from celebrity magazines to cover the event'

Luxembourg's openly gay Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, will marry his partner later this week, according to sources.

Bettel has kept tight-lipped about his wedding plans in order to minimize press coverage in the conservative Catholic-majority duchy, which legalized gay marriage in June.

May 10, 2015

At the same time the Bishop of Limerick warns of 'legal challenges' to school textbooks should the referendum return a Yes vote

Hundreds of marriage equality supporters held a rally on the streets of Dublin today to kick off the ‘final countdown’ to Ireland’s referendum on marriage equality.

 Campaigners from all sectors across society – including teachers’ union and student union representatives and politicians – came together in Merrion Square.

‘Every vote counts and we urge people to use their voice for a positive change in Irish society,’ Max Krzyzanowski of Noise, who organized the event, told RTÉ.

May 6, 2015

'It will create cultural and ideological enrichment'

The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro is planning a symbolic mass gay wedding on Saturday (8 May) as part of Havana's annual pride parade.

Mariela Castro, head of the National Sex Education Centre and a member of Cuba's National Assembly, said her father supported gay marriage but it is not yet legal in the country.

'We can't do a wedding, but we wanted to have a very modest celebration of love with some religious leaders,' she said.

'In the future we'll see what more we can do.'

May 6, 2015

Men are also prohibited from plucking their eyebrows

Men in Iran have been banned from wearing 'homosexual' spiky hairstyles and plucking their eyebrows. 

Tattoos and tanning beds were also deemed un-Islamic and prohibited in the annual pre-summer crackdown on western fashions.

Mostafa Govahi, head of Iran’s barbers’ union, Monday (4 April) said barbers across the country had been given a list of appropriate men's hairstyles, the Guardian reported.

April 30, 2015

Constitution reforms would also bar same-sex couples from adopting children

El Salvador's congress has approved a measure banning gay marriage.

The 84-seat legislature voted 47-0 for a package of constitutional reforms that would  the only men and women 'born that way' can and bar same-sex couples from adopting children.

The bill needed at least 43 votes to pass this first hurdle. The right-wing Arena party led the votes, while the ruling left-wing FMLN abstained.

But the reforms cannot take effect unless they are ratified by a two-thirds majority, 56 votes, in the 2015-2019 legislative session, which starts on 1 May.

April 26, 2015

'...I think it does a disservice to both sides if the court wades into public policy like this'

Same-sex marriage opponent Tony Perkins will continue the battle against LGBTI couples, no matter what the US Supreme Court decides.

The president of the anti-gay Family Research Council was a guest on today's (26 April) CBS News show Face the Nation.

April 19, 2015

Two legally married men and their son are fighting for same-sex marriage in Ohio - despite living more than 500 miles away

A married couple from New York City are joining the legal fight for same-sex marriage in Ohio because they cannot adopt their son in the state.

Married since 2011, Joseph Vitale and Robert Talmas adopted a newborn baby, Cooper, in 2013.

They slept in hospital for the legally required 72 hours as they waited for the birth, before taking their son home to New York where they received a final adoption decree on January 17 2014.

The decree included a directive that a new birth certificate be issued, naming Vitale and Talmas as Cooper’s parents.

April 16, 2015

At an event in Dublin’s Digital Exchange, Ireland’s Taoiseach joined 150 business leaders in calling for the public to vote in favor of same-sex marriage in the republic

Ireland’s Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, joined tech business leaders at a press conference in Dublin this morning to speak out in support of equal marriage.

Ireland will hold a referendum on same-sex marriage on 22 May.

Kenny has previously said that his government supports same-sex marriage, but this morning’s conference was designed to highlight the fact that the corporate world also believes it to be the right thing to do.

April 12, 2015

While she now supports marriage equality, question remain about how, and when, the former Secretary of State 'evolved'

Papers released by the Clinton Library this past week do not show where then First Lady Hillary Clinton stood on the Defense of Marriage Act.

In 1996, the bill passed both the House and Senate by huge margins. 

It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

April 10, 2015

President Francois Hollande considers Laurent Stefanini 'one of the best diplomats'

Pope Francis has reportedly refused to accept the nomination of the new French ambassador because he is gay.

Laurent Stefanini, a close aide of President François Hollande, was nominated in early January but the Vatican has yet to accept his credentials.

As envoys are normally accepted within six weeks, and as the Vatican does not explicitly refuse credentials, a prolonged silence is being taken as a rejection.

April 8, 2015

National AIDS charity demands apology, calling the comment 'vulgar and defamatory'

Nicolas Sarkozy is being accused of making an offensive comment about a rival politician, claiming he is like AIDS and if you 'touch him, you die!'

The former president of France made the alleged comments about the leader of the Democratic Movement party François Bayrou.

As quoted by La Parisien, Sarkozy said: 'Bayrou is like AIDS...whoever touches him - dies!

Sarkozy, who is also the leader of the Union for a Popular Movement party, and his spokespeople have denied that he made this comment.

April 4, 2015

The Australian Marriage Forum ran commercials in which they likened gay marriage to single mothers being forced to give up their babies by the state and warned of a ‘motherless generation’ due to gay men becoming parents

Australia’s former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has asked for the anti-gay Australian Marriage Forum to apologize for linking her 2013 official apology to victims of forced adoption in Australia to their campaign to stop same-sex couples from being allowed to get married.

April 1, 2015

US presidential hopeful says he doesn't believe in 'rights based on behavior'

Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul has said he doesn't believe in LGBTI rights because they are based on 'lifestyle.'

'I don’t think I’ve ever used the word gay rights, because I don’t really believe in rights based on your behavior,' he said in a 2013 video interview that received little attention at the time.

By the same reasoning, the Kentucky senator should also oppose free excise of religion and freedom of speech, both of which are rights based on behaviours.

March 31, 2015

Arkansas is expected to move ahead with its anti-gay bill

'Religious freedom' bills in both Georgie and North Carolina have stalled amid a national backlash over a similar law that was passed in Indiana last week.

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows businesses to turn away LGBTI customers on religious grounds.

Georgia's Senate passed the bill earlier this month within minutes of being introduced with no advance notice.

But the draft law stalled at the committee stage after a lawmaker added anti-discrimination language to stop it from being using against LGBTI people.