It’s all about marriage equality this week in the LGBT news world. Been too busy shopping for presents and trying to cover up your shame at the office Christmas party? Well don’t panic, you can catch up on all this weeks biggest stories here. And once you’re done, don’t forget to vote for your favourite stars of the year in our 2012 So So Gay Awards!
Monday 10 December 2012- Former Prime Minister supports Out4Marriage campaign
Sir John Major, former Conservative Party Prime Minister, has released a statement in support of equal marriage. In his statement the former Prime Minister said, ‘The Prime Minister’s instinct to support equal marriage is a courageous and genuine attempt to offer security and comfort to people who – at present – may be together, yet feel apart. I fully understand that there are many who will find this difficult to accept, as will the Churches. But the Prime Minister has made it clear that the Churches will be free to make their own decisions upon whether to conduct such marriages – and that is entirely the right approach.’ The proposed legislation, which will seek to allow same-sex religious marriage, is being initiated by the coalition government and led by the Prime Minister David Cameron.
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches also released a statement this week saying, ‘Unitarians look forward to the announcement next week of the Government’s response to the equal marriage consultation and are hopeful that this will mean we will be free to conduct same-sex marriages in our places of worship.’
Russian Prime Minister calls proposed anti-gay laws ‘unnecessary’
Russian Prime Minister Medvedev told journalists on television last week that a proposed law banning so-called ‘gay propaganda’ was unnecessary. He said, ‘not all relations between people can be regulated by law’. If enacted, the law would prevent LGBT people from accessing accurate health information and health care. Medvedev confirmed that the majority party, United Russia, agreed with his position on the anti-gay law. AllOut.org said, ‘Contrary to the claims of the law’s supporters, opposition for the bill is coming from both inside and outside of Russia’s borders. Laws that tell you who you can love – and even what you can say about love – don’t change who people are…If this bill passes, the law would force lesbian and gay Russians, and their friends and families, to live in fear and isolation.’ The first hearing for the ‘Bill on Administrative Responsibility for Propaganda of Homosexuality Among Minors’ is planned for this week. Similar laws have already been adopted locally in some regions of Russia.
Wow Women: New lesbian dating app launches
Wow Women, a new lesbian dating community with a green commitment, is about to be launched. The aim of Wow Women is simple: to make it easier to find a lesbian dating partner. Long-term lesbian partners are getting harder to find in traditional clubs or bars, according to a survey conducted by Wow Events. Unlike most online dating sites, Wow Women is run solely by lesbians, which will be reassuring for users and make them feel much safer. The site also includes photo recognition software which will keep away fake profiles. With lots of user-friendly features, the company looks all set to redefine the idea of dating for gay women with an app designed for meeting others close by. Other noteworthy features of the site include VIP dating, speed dating, Facebook connect, match making, GPS location and much more.
Same-sex couple win CBS’s ‘The Aazing Race’
Partners Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, commonly known as The Beekman Boys, won last Sunday’s season finale of CBS’s Emmy-winning reality competition The Amazing Race. Team Beekman is the second same-sex couple to win the competition over the American reality television game show’s 21 seasons, but this is the first time CBS has aired a gay couple celebratory kiss. When the first gay couple, Reichen and Chip, won the reality show their kiss was actually edited out of the finale. The recently engaged duo took home the $1 million prize after travelling over 25,000 miles through nine different countries.
Tuesday 11 December 2012- Government to push ahead with same-sex marriage proposals
Marina Miller, Minister for Equalities, announced that the Government is pushing ahead with changes to laws to allow same-sex couples to marry in England, but will include ‘lock-outs’ for the Church of England and other religious organisations opposed to the changes. Miller noted that the consultation on changes was not about whether, but how the changes would be introduced. 228,000 people responded to the consultation. She noted that in each century parliament has legislated to keep marriage ‘relevant and meaningful’, and now was the time to allow same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals. Miller expects the Bill to be launched in January 2013, and be law within a year.
Wednesday 12 December 2012- Out4Marriage urges the Government not to create ‘future inequality’
Out4Marriage echoes caution over a ‘fourth-lock’ in the new equal marriage proposals, which would limit future religious freedoms. Out4Marriage believes that the proposals at the moment seek to differentiate the Church of England and the Church of Wales from other religions in the way they go about ‘opting-in’ to permitting same-sex marriage. The proposals, which are not yet in a published legislative form, would have four locks, with the fourth requiring the Parliamentary Act to ‘explicitly state that it would be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples, or to opt-in to do so’. James-J Walsh, Campaign Director at Out4Marriage said, ‘It is our belief that any religion has the right to believe, or not to believe in equal marriage, but that should only be a theological debate, between religious institutions and their congregation, and no enforced bar should be put in place by the State. Maria Miller is right to seek protections for Religious Belief from judicial interpretation, but in so doing should avoid future inequalities.’
Sir Ian Mckellen reveals he’s been living with prostate cancer for ‘several years’
Openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen has revealed that he’s been living with prostate cancer for several years. In an interview with The Mirror he told them how he’d been living with the disease for a while now, but currently requires no treatment. He said, ‘You do gulp when your hear the news.It’s like when you go for an HIV test, you go ‘arghhh is this the end of the road?” He went on to say that he’d had prostate cancer for six or seven years, ‘when you have got it you monitor it and you have to be careful it doesn’t spread…But if it is contained in the prostate it’s no big deal.’
Thursday 13 December 2012- Poll: 55% of public support gay marriage, but Tory voters divided
A majority (55%) of the British public have said they support changing the law to allow same-sex marriage, but Conservative voters are still divided on the issue. In a recent poll, 46% of Conservatives were in favour, whilst 48% opposed. The poll comes amidst a declaration by UKIP leader Nigel Farage that the Prime Minister’s decision to legalise gay marriage would ‘rip apart’ the Conservative Party. Over in Labour, 60% of voters support same-sex marriage, and an overwhelming 77% of Liberal Democrats are in favour of the change. When asked what is more important, the right of same-sex couples to get married or the right of churches to keep religious marriages to those between men and women, a plurality say that the right of churches should take priority, but a substantial proportion are unsure. Commenting on the poll, YouGov Director of Political and Social Research Joe Twyman said, ‘All of the recent polling we have done on this issue has found that a majority of the British public support the right of same-sex couples to have full equal marriage. However, dig a little deeper and we can see that Conservative voters remain more divided on this issue, with a slightly higher proportion who are opposed.’
Simon Callow: I’m Out4Marriage
On Wednesday’s BBC2′s Daily Politics show, the actor Simon Callow described the Government’s detailed proposals on gay marriage, set out in the House of Commons the day before, as ‘a bit bewildering’ and a ‘sort of medieval idea’. Before the Government announced full details of the new laws this week, Mr Callow offered his support to the campaign group Out4Marriage in an online video.
Thousands more gay men know HIV status due to National HIV Testing Week
Thousands more gay men have been tested for HIV, after more than 55 sexual health clinics and organisations from across England participated in the country’s first ever National HIV Testing Week. The week, which ran from 23 to 30 November 2012, was launched by Terrence Higgins Trust and coordinated through HIV Prevention England. During the week, a home sampling service launched by GMFA saw more than 200 home HIV sampling kits posted out to gay men in London. Paul Ward, Deputy Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said, ‘We are thrilled with how successful the week has been…We hope the message of the week, of how important testing is to both individual and public health, will last all year round.’ As part of HPE’s Think HIV campaign, the partnership is encouraging gay men to visit their website and complete a short survey about their sex life to receive personalised advice about how regularly they should be testing for HIV.
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