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March 24, 2015

Senate has already passed legislation - Governor Mike Pence plans to sign into law

The Indiana House of Representatives on Monday (22 March) easily passed a bill that would allow anyone - including private businesses and organizations - to discriminate against LGBTI people and others due to religious beliefs.

The bill was passed by the Indiana Senate last month and Republican Governor Mike Spence (pictured) has already vowed to sign it into law.

Spence said in a statement the bill 'is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact.

March 19, 2015

Australian lawmakers will debate a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage for the third time in five years next Thursday amid hopes Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will finally allow his MPs to vote with their consciences on the issue

Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm today announced his Freedom to Marry Bill will return for debate in the Australian Senate as soon as next Thursday.

In doing so, Senator Leyonhjelm called on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow his MPs and senators a conscience vote on the issue.

Abbott has said in the past that his MPs would get a conscience vote on the issue when his party room decided they should and Leyonhjelm believes there is enough support amongst members of the ruling Liberal-National Coalition for that to occur.

March 18, 2015

Ruling coalition votes against the motion

Australia's national Senate has supported a motion calling on all parties to allow a conscience vote on gay marriage.

The motion, proposed by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, passed the upper house where opposition parties have the majority. The ruling Liberal-National coalition voted against.

'[Prime Minister] Tony Abbott should lift the gag on his MPs and let them vote freely on the issue of marriage equality. There's nothing to be afraid of,' she wrote on Twitter.

March 13, 2015

Perverting the Constitution and religious freedom

State legislatures across the country are disenfranchising LGBTI Americans.

Lawmakers are introducing a surprising number of bills in state legislative sessions, overtly sanctioning and enforcing discrimination. These bills are called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA), but don’t be fooled. These politicians are looking to codify LGBTI discrimination.

This week the Georgia Senate, with a vote of 37-15, approved their controversial RFRA (House Bill 1023).

March 13, 2015

Outdated language banning same-sex parents from adopting in Florida is set to be removed from law

Republican-dominated Florida House of Representatives has supported a bill amendment removing a gay adoption ban from law, as part of wider changes to incentivise foster care in the state.

Same-sex parents in the state have been allowed to adopt since 2010 after an appeals court ruled Florida’s gay adoption ban to be unconstitutional – but the language of the law has remained the same.

February 26, 2015

'Bills that say they are about protecting one thing when the real goal is to target and discriminate against LGBT people'

The Indiana State Senate has passed a bill that will permit small businesses to exercise their 'religious liberties'. 

Critics of the bill, which was created by Social Conservatives in response to the state's same-sex marriage law being struck down in June 2014, have argued that it would allow small business owners to refuse service to LGBTI people based on their sexuality.

February 26, 2015

Measure is approved 'for the protection of children from harmful information'

The Senate of Kazakhstan has passed a bill banning 'propaganda of a non-traditional sexual orientation.'

The upper house of the Kazakh parliament approved the measure on 19 February 'for the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development.'

Aldan Smayil, a member of the Majilis (the lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament), proposed prohibiting 'gay propaganda' in August 2013.

February 23, 2015

'If it becomes law, this bill will preempt local nondiscrimination laws and policies that offer protections on any basis not yet included in state law'

Leading US civil rights organizations are asking Arkansas' governor to veto a bill blocking towns and cities from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBTI residents.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Arkansas, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and National Center for Lesbian Rights issued the statement yesterday (21 February).

February 15, 2015

'It’s crystal clear that the motivation for this bill is to stifle local efforts to advance equality for LGBT Arkansans'

Arkansas is one step closer to prohibiting towns and cities from passing laws blocking discrimination against LGBTI residents.

February 11, 2015

A group of federal Democratic lawmakers have joined forces with Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to introduce a bill to protect LGBTI students from bullying and discrimination in public schools

Democratic members of the US House of Representatives Jared Polis and Robert C Scott have been joined by Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in co-sponsoring a bill to protect LGBTI students in public schools in a move the group will encourage bipartisan support for the effort.

The lawmakers introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) on Tuesday which, if passed, will help protect public school students from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

February 6, 2015

New post will be filled by an openly gay Foreign Service officer

US Secretary of State John Kerry will announce the appointment later this month of a special envoy to advocate for LGBTI rights overseas.

The move pre-empts a bill introduced last week in boths houses of the Senate that would make promoting LGBTI rights a priority of US foreign policy.

January 30, 2015

Legislation creates a special LGBTI envoy in the State Department

US lawmakers in both of houses of congress yesterday (29 January) introduced a bill to promote and protect LGBTI rights globally.

The International Human Rights Defense Act would create a special envoy in the State Department to coordinate efforts to prevent and respond to discrimination and violence against LGBTI people worldwide.

January 29, 2015

Bill gives civil partners nearly all the rights of married couples

Lawmakers in socially conservative Chile have given final approval to gay civil unions after more than four years of legislative wrangling.

The senate yesterday (January) passed the Civil Union Accord bill by a 25 to 6 vote margin with three abstentions, a week after the lower house approved the measure.

The bill now heads back to President Michelle Bachelet to sign into law.

January 25, 2015

Same-sex marriage is now legal in the state – and couples who wish to jointly adopt will have to get hitched if they want to both be parents

The Virginia Senate committee rejected a proposal on Friday to extend adoption rights to the partners of unmarried gay partners.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in Virginia. However, not all same-sex couples wish to marry.

January 22, 2015

Republican members of the Colorado State Senate have used their political weight to kill a bill to clean up the state’s civil unions law in the wake of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state simply to be obstructive

A group of influential Republican Colorado state senators have used their numbers on the Senate State Affairs Committee to block a law to clarify the state’s civil unions law even though the bill would have prevented gay bigamy.

Colorado passed a bill creating civil unions for same-sex couples in 2013 but the striking down of its ban on same-sex marriage by the courts has created legal complications for same-sex couples who end their relationships in that they will have to divorce twice if they married after entering into a civil union.

December 7, 2014

A coalition of Chilean lawmakers from the Christian Democrats, Socialist Party, Party for Democracy and Amplitude political movement will introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the hope that the government will support the reform

There are hopes that Chile may become the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage this month as a cross party group of lawmakers have pledged to introduce a bill on the issue before the end of next week.

The MPs, from the Christian Democrats, Socialist Party, Party for Democracy and Amplitude movement, say they expect the bill to go to the Congress on Wednesday or Thursday and hope that the Government of Michelle Bachelet will back the reform.

December 6, 2014

State Republican leaders eventually plan to take their appeal to the state Supreme Court

Republican lawmakers in Missouri plan to appeal a judge's ruling requiring the US state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

According to The Kansas Star, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and House Speaker Tim Jones filed a motion on 3 December. The hope is to eventually take the case to the state Supreme Court.

December 5, 2014

Andrew Barr is almost certain to be the next Australian Capital Territory chief

Andrew Barr is almost certain to become the first gay state or territory leader in Australia next week after the incumbent Australian Capital Territory (ACT) chief stepped down today (5 December).

As treasurer and deputy chief minister, Barr, 41, is the obvious choice to replace Katy Gallagher as chief minister after she resigned to run for the federal senate.

'I will nominate to the Labor caucus to fill the role of chief minister,' Barr confirmed on Facebook.

December 2, 2014

Prime Minister Tony Abbott backs away from his election promise to allow a conscience vote on marriage equality

An Australian senator yesterday threatened to block legislation if the prime minister breaks his election promise to allow a conscience vote on gay marriage.

Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm introduced a private bill to legalize gay marriage in parliament last week.

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.'

October 15, 2014

The Australian Equality Party has signed 700 same-sex marriage supporters

Hundreds of Australian gay marriage supporters have registered a new party to run in the next federal election.

The Australian Equlity Party (AEP) was launched in February and has signed more than the 500 members required for recognition from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Party leader Jason Tuazon-McCheyne said, 'What started as a discussion amongst a group of friends 12 months ago has snowballed into the creation of Australia’s newest political party.

September 25, 2014

A bill to recognize the hundreds of Australian gay couples who wed abroad was introduced in March

The Australian Senate has recommended parliament does not pass a bill to recognize gay couples who married in places where same-sex unions are legal.

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee released a report on the bill today.

Some submitters expressed concern that the bill was 'a surreptitious attempt to introduce marriage equality.'

The Law Council of Australia was concerned that the bill would create a discriminatory situation where only couples with the financial resources to travel overseas would have access to gay marriage.

August 30, 2014

State Assembly passes bill prohibiting defendants from using panic defense to escape charges of murdering someone gay or transgender

Is it the end of the gay panic and trans panic defenses in California?

The California State Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill this week that would prohibit murder defendants from using the so-called panic defense.

The bill had already been psssed by the State Senate and will now go to Governor Jerry Brown who must sigb it for it to become law.

Under this defense strategy, some defendants have been able to escape murder charges by claiming they panicked because they discovered the victim was gay or transgender.

July 30, 2014

With other elected officials out of the state for the day, lesbian House Speaker Toni Atkins takes the reigns

California's Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins got to make some history Wednesday (30 July).

With the state's governor, lieutenant governor and state Senate president pro tem all out of the state for part of the day, Atkins briefly became the first openly gay person to be acting governor.