OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Same-sex marriage

If you speak French, you’re in for a real treat from this group of protestors in France. And if you don’t, I think you’ll find that the clip transcends language into something that is universally mockable.

Australian Parliament Votes Down Equal Marriage Rights

September 24th, 2012

A man in an airplane wonders midflight: "Why does everyone in this time machine have an Aussie accent? I'm starting to think we're not travelling to the past at all..."

I’ve always thought that Canada and Australia are similar in a lot of ways. It’s kind of like a parallel Canada with a warmer climate, more poisonous animals, and a superior electoral system. And now, like Canada once did, it’s going through some setbacks in its transition on the path to equal marriage rights.

Australia’s parliament voted down an equal marriage bill last week in a vote of 98 to 42. It’s a big disappointment for a lot of same-sex couples who will now have to wait before getting the same civil benefits that opposite-sex couples have.

Canada had some similar votes, not long ago. In 1995, Canadian parliament rejected a bill that would have allowed for civil unions by a vote of 128 to 52. Then, in 1999 parliament passed a motion affirming the legal definition of marriage as “the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others” by a vote of 215 to 55. Yet, almost four years later to the day, Ontario was finally issuing legal same-sex marriages. Before two more years could pass, nearly all the provinces had followed suit. On July 20, 2005 (coincidentally, the anniversary of my coming out date) a parliamentary vote had given equal marriage rights to every single Canadian, six years after an overwhelming defeat for equality in the house of commons.

So, to my friends in Australia: I wouldn’t fret too much over this setback. According to polls, popular support is already on your side, and—more importantly—so is history. You might be a few years behind Canada in rights, and more than a few degrees above Canada in temperature, but thanks to everyone keeping up the good fight, you’re still ahead of many other countries around the world and I’m utterly convinced you’ll be enjoying full equality much sooner than later. Keep it up!

Court Rejects Anti-Gay Lawsuit

July 9th, 2012

Lady justice punches a man in the face: "Your arguments are dumb and you're dumb!"

An anti-gay group calling themselves New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms filed a lawsuit late last year to reverse the state’s equal marriage law. Like most attempts to get same-sex marriage overturned, they gave themselves a delightfully ironic name;  unlike other groups, however, they didn’t seem to rely on the usual arguments about how families would be instantly vaporized or how children would now be used for cattle feed, etc. Instead they suggested that same-sex marriage is invalid in New York because two meetings of the Republican Senate’s majority should have been held in public instead of privately leading up to the vote.

The case was rejected almost immediately in November, but New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms appealed to the state supreme court. On Friday, that court unanimously found that private meetings are perfectly allowable, adding that even if they weren’t, it has nothing to do with why same-sex marriage should be banned in any fathomable capacity.

Well, that should have gone without saying.

Seriously, anti-gay lobbyists? Your arguments have always been deeply flawed, but this one isn’t even fun. How am I supposed to get new material for this site when you’re not mischaracterizing gay people in amusing ways anymore? Your next lawsuit had better involve accusations of conspiracy to release genetically engineered vampire pigeons, repurposed to inject schoolchildren with experimental gaydar genes or something. That just sounds a lot more fun to draw than someone following bureaucratic procedure improperly, you see.

North Carolina conducted a statewide study yesterday to resolve the question once and for all: Are most North Carolinians narrow-minded bigots? The answer, of course, was yes.

United States May Relax Customs Restrictions For Same-Sex Couples

April 2nd, 2012

Airport Security Check. Straights: No Aerosols, No Weapons. Gays: No Aerosols, No Weapons, No Wedding Rings.

The United States’ Department of Homeland Security has proposed finally lifting restrictions requiring same-sex couples to fill out separate customs declarations.

Currently, heterosexual families are allowed to fill out one customs declaration per household, while same-sex couples are treated as if they were strangers that happen to be on the same flight. This discrepancy is a direct result of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids any federal recognition of same-sex partnerships.

Treating same-sex families as, well, families is estimated to save two million dollars as the procedure is streamlined.

There’s no word yet on whether this new procedure will apply to foreign (i.e. Canadian) same-sex couples entering the United States, but if it does, we may be able to start using the phrase “land of the free” in relation to the U.S. without using air quotes and chuckling.

Ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s has renamed a flavour of their signature frozen treat from Oh! My! Apple Pie! to Apple-y Ever After as a way of showing their support for same-sex marriage in the UK. Opponents of equality are now reportedly lobbying for their own flavour introduction: Living in Sinnamon.

An anti-gay lobby group called Scotland for Marriage is publishing the results of an in-house poll which claims that a majority of Scotspersons opposes equal marriage rights, a deviation from what reputable polling companies suggest. Perhaps this difference can be explained by the wording of the question, which asks if you agree with the following statement: “Since gay and lesbian couples already have the same rights as married couples available to them under civil partnership, they should not be allowed to redefine marriage for everyone else.” Uhh…

Slate investigates the claims that same-sex marriage will have all sorts of negative effects on society, finding that facts simply don’t support this claim. Then, again, facts aren’t exactly an occupation if the anti-gay lobby.

Even in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal, gay couples in the United States are paying a lot more in taxes because the federal marriage benefits available for straight couples aren’t available to gay ones. I guess that’s one strategy for paying down the debt—tax the gays instead of the 1%!

You’re on a roll, United States! The Maryland senate passed, yesterday afternoon, a bill granting equal marriage rights to all state residents. The governor said he will sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk. For celebratory measure, he’ll also change the state name to Marryland, why not?

Tories Normalize Marriage Laws

February 20th, 2012

A despondent Stephen Harper thinks to himself: "What have I become?"

The federal Conservative Party introduced a bill on Friday that would explicitly confirm the validity same-sex marriages granted to foreigners in Canada, and extend the right to divorce to any foreign couple whose marriages are recognized in their country of origin.

This bill puts an end to a bizarre government court case where a federal lawyer tried to argue that all Canadian same-sex marriages issued to foreigners are invalid, understandably causing a whole lotta drama last month.

It’s pretty rare that the Tories do the right thing when it comes to GLBT issues, even for no-brainers like this, but this was definitely the correct action to take. So in what’s probably the first such occurrence in the history of this site, I shall extend a pat upside the head to the Tories for taking care of this swiftly and reasonably.

Of course, considering Stephen Harper’s backwards views on equal marriage rights, I imagine he must be curled up in a corner right now, hugging his knees, rocking himself softly to sleep. When you govern a country as progressive and diverse as Canada, sometimes you have to sacrifice your personal prejudices. (Sometimes, but clearly not always.)

It looks like Rhode Island legislators are prepared to introduce three equal rights bills today, including one that proposes full marriage equality in the state. Well, there you go! Just because a state is small doesn’t mean its minds are too.

Equal rights are sweeping through the States like a tsunami of gay! The Washington state House passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage today, following last week’s passage by the state senate. All that’s left now is for the governor to sign the bill into law, which he is expected to do as early as next week. Wow! At this rate, you guys will have entered this century in no time!

Great news for all our friends in the States! The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling today declaring that California’s Proposition 8 (which banned same-sex marriage in the state) is unconstitutional! I wonder if opponents of marriage equality will now finally give up and admit they’re on the wrong side of history, or if they’ll carry onward and magnify their already-secured historical humiliation. (Actually, somehow I already know the answer.) At any rate, congratulations to all my friends to the south on this important win!

Great news for our friends in Washington, today! A bill legalizing same-sex marriage was passed by the state Senate this morning. The bill, which was voted in 28 to 21 against now heads to the House, where it is expected to pass.

Canada’s famous (well, internally famous) Heritage Minutes got a new addition recently. The succinctly titled Canada Gay Marriage may not be an It’s Time in terms of quality, but hey, at least we’re lucky enough to have it depict the past instead of the future!

Unspinning The Same-Sex Marriage Fiasco

January 16th, 2012

Stephen Harper tapdances with a cane and top hat.

On Thursday, an article in the Globe and Mail declared that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had annulled over five thousand Canadian same-sex marriages issued to non-residents since 2005. Worldwide panic and probably cannibalism ensued, with the government rapidly trying to diffuse the situation, and the media using a mixture of government-fed information and political spin to make things supremely confusing for anyone hoping to understand exactly what happened in the first place.

So, what did happen?

Depending on which articles you read, the situation has been described as anything from a sneaky reversal of marriage policy followed by intense backpedaling (I’m looking at you, Globe and Mail), to a heroic government announcement granting foreign same-sex couples legal recognition for the first time (That’s you, National Post). The truth is a third option entirely, and is every bit as boring as you’d expect the details of international law to be.

To spare you an unwanted nap, here’s what I understand in the utmost of brevity: A couple from the UK got married in Canada and then later decided they wanted a divorce. When it comes to divorce and other matters of legal consequence, though, it turns out that Canadian law requires that the couple’s marriage be recognized in their country of citizenship. A lawyer with the Department of Justice, arguing on behalf of the government, thus declared that the couple’s same-sex marriage is not legally recognizable in this case, and was therefore never valid in the first place. This, he extended, means that virtually all other same-sex marriages issued to foreigners are likewise invalid.

A poo tempest followed.

Now, I’m not at all fond of being in the position of defending Stephen Harper’s Conservatives (I find most of their policies indefensible and the others generally pretty sucky), but I truly think this whole interpretation caught them off guard. I don’t believe that the Department of Justice lawyer was arguing based on explicit instruction from the PMO, nor do I think Harper is actively seeking to end same-sex marriage in Canada. (He still does his best to prevent other advances in equality and protection; equalizing the age of consent and adding protections for trans Canadians comes to mind, but I sincerely don’t think he wants to take away our right to marry.)

At any rate, despite what you may read, there was no policy change here—just a lawyer making a foolish argument. Rather than side with the lawyer’s interpretation, the government has stated that they will remedy the situation the same way I would: Explicitly clarify the law to recognize marriages in legal matters, no matter what the legality of those marriages are in the couple’s home country.

What I wouldn’t do, though, is then try to score extra political points by blaming this debacle on the previous Liberal government, which is exactly what the Conservative Justice Minister Rob Nicholson did in front of the media: “This is a legislative gap left by the Liberal government of the day when the law was changed in 2005,” he said. “The confusion and pain resulting from this gap is completely unfair to those who are affected.”

This legislative gap—which I doubt can accurately be described as such—existed long before same-sex marriage was even a reality in Canada. If the Tories had been in power in 2005 we simply wouldn’t have noticed because gays would not be able to marry—and since virtually all opposite-sex marriages are recognized abroad, no case to highlight this “gap” would ever have been brought forward. (Once Mr. Nicholson renounces the injustice demonstrated by the Tories in their previous attempts to prevent and then strip away our marriage rights, he may then comment on the unfairness of those affected by the government’s own lawyer’s interpretation.)

So, what should we take away from all this?

Something very encouraging, indeed.

Attempts to strip rights away from gay people will result in a demonstrated public outrage capable of severely threatening the government’s popularity. Despite some very loud voices of bigotry out there, support for equal rights and acceptance of gay people is the mainstream view in Canada. And that’s worth celebrating.

Legal Same-Sex Marriage Improves Health

December 21st, 2011

A doctor proposes to his boyfriend, by holding out a pair of engagement rings:

As if common sense weren’t enough reason to give full, equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, a study out of Columbia University has provided some extra support.

Legal same-sex marriage, according to researchers, reduces the number of medical visits among gay and bisexual men by 13 percent, further reducing health care costs by 14 percent.

Mark Hatzenbuehler, the lead researcher on the study, said that legal equality likely results in health benefits due to a reduction of stress-related issues, both mental and physical. (Living in a committed relationship where someone you love is keeping an eye on your health and safety probably doesn’t hurt either.)

So, if I understand how medical statistical methodology works, allow me to summarize: Since we can marry, gay men in Canada are 13 percent more likely to survive after licking a subway seat. And that’s good to know.

The study was published last week in the American Journal of Public Health, and tracked over 1,200 patients in a Massachusetts health care clinic.

Tories Condemn Nigerian Anti-Gay Bill

December 12th, 2011

John Baird thinks to himself: "What's the least I can do here?"

The federal Conservative Party—who re-affirmed an official party policy to ban same-sex marriage in Canada only 6 months ago—has issued a strong condemnation toward Nigeria for a draconian law that punishes same-sex wedding participants with up to 14 years in jail.

Well, that’s a tad severe of Nigeria, wouldn’t you say? I may have to cancel all my planned vacations to Maiduguri and Ogbomoso in protest.

A condemnation was undoubtedly the right thing to do on the part of the Tories (and specifically John Baird), but it doesn’t seem particularly meaningful when their own party policy only differs in the punishment, not attitude toward the law itself.

Nigeria’s proposed bill is also a very easy thing to condemn, since the punishment is about as proportionate to the crime as women MPs are to the rest of the Conservative party.

But, hey. Baby steps, right?

Thumbs Up To Equal Marriage From Australia’s Governing Party

December 7th, 2011

Crocodile Dundee waves a magic rainbow wand, shooting sparkles at a mugger. "That's not gay," he says. "THAT'S gay."

The Australian Labor Party officially adopted policies in support of full equal marriage rights for same-sex couples last week.

That’s an encouraging sign, certainly increasing the likelyhood of a successful same-sex marriage bill being introduced in parliament.

Canada’s governing Conservative party, incidentally, officially adopted an opposite policy during its last convention, supporting the revocation of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Canada. But, given Stephen Harper’s history of plagiaris—err… I mean, enthusiastic imitation—of Australian politicians, perhaps the Tories will now reconsider.

Here’s wishing Australia the best of luck in its journey toward full, equal rights!

Nigeria Proposes Jail Time For Same-Sex Marriage

November 14th, 2011

Two jailed men are sitting in their cell. "What are you in for?" one asks. "Saying I'd love someone forever," the other replies.

A Nigerian bill, opened for debate this month, will jail anyone who has—or bears witness to—a same-sex marriage ceremony in the country.

According to the Nigerian senate website, the bill would forbid the “coming together of persons of same sex with the purpose of living together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship.”

The wording of the bill is such that it would likely apply to foreigners upon entry to Nigeria as well.

Well, there goes my plans to move to Nigeria and become a renowned baker of same-sex wedding cakes. Plus, I was looking forward to seeing that really amazing tourist attraction of some sort that Nigeria is so well known for.

Oh well.

The Story Of My (Super Gay) Wedding

September 2nd, 2011

Ruining an otherwise perfect wedding, a pterodactyl crashes through the window just as the cake is being cut.

The following article was one that I originally wrote for the September, 2010 issue of Outlooks magazine. Although I’ve now already celebrated my first wedding anniversary, I figured this would be a worthwhile time to reflect on a very special group of lobbyists that tried their hardest to force us out of a wedding in the first place. Enjoy!

So, I’m getting married in a week. A gay wedding. Exciting, right? I’m pretty nervous about the whole thing, too. Don’t get me wrong. The commitment part is kind of a no-brainer. I’m just worried that if things aren’t handled just right, grave consequences will hang on my conscience forever.

Let me explain. My wedding, I’ve discovered, has upset a large number of people. To my credit, I don’t think this was my fault; I simply hadn’t assumed that so many strangers would feel so passionately about my relationship.

I suppose the problems started about a year before my fiancé and I made the plans official. Although my wedding had been made a legal possibility many years earlier, REAL Women of Canada and the Canada Family Action Coalition jointly issued a press release announcing that they’d be seeking a national referendum on our marriage. Lots and lots of people that I’ve never met, they said, didn’t think my fiancé and I were a very good fit. Apparently, we ought to have asked everyone in Canada first.

I wasn’t too keen on the whole referendum thing, personally. We preferred our wedding to be a small, private event. And, while polls strongly suggested that most Canadians would be fine with our plans, it seemed like a pretty big inconvenience to ask everyone individually. The referendum never happened, luckily, but there were still obstacles.

The year we got engaged, Focus On The Family Canada, the Institute For Canadian Values, and the Canada Family Action Coalition were apparently so displeased with our lack of consultation about the wedding details that they started a campaign for an official, royal commission on our marriage. A group of commissioners working without government intervention, they suggested, should be ordered to intimately study my relationship with my fiancé and report back to the queen’s representatives with recommendations. The outcome, the lobbyists hoped, would be to cancel our wedding.

I guess this one really took me off guard. My financé and I had already given ample thought to formalizing our relationship and commitment, but perhaps we were missing something. A royal commission was pretty serious stuff, after all. There had only been two such commissions launched in Canada in the last ten years: One about the Air India bombing (Canada’s largest terrorist incident), and another about the future of health care. The mere prospect of such a costly inquiry made me anxious.

If I had to pinpoint the greatest cause of stress, though, I think it was Conservative MP Harold Albrecht. His blunt statement helped me grasp the unintended gravity of our plans. Our wedding, he declared, “will succeed in wiping out an entire society in just one generation.”

All of society?

My mind frantically raced, searching for what detail I could have possibly overlooked to cause such a disaster. Was the frosting that we had selected for our wedding cupcakes too bold of a colour, capable of sparking a cascading, mass seizure—wherein one guest would be thrown into epileptic fits so grotesque that all those within view would share the same fate? Maybe the outdoor location we had chosen was part of a sensitive ecosystem, jeopardizing the survival of important phytoplanktons, collapsing Earth’s food chain from the bottom up? Or maybe we had inadvertently planned the greatest wedding ever—an event so perfect that it ended the tradition of marriage completely, removing the only construct capable of ensuring the continuation of human reproduction (according to some).

All seemed a little far fetched, but what else could our small wedding celebration do to result in such horrifying consequences? All these lobby groups seemed so sure, and were wasting no expense in trying to end our ceremony.

Luckily, Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary offered a hint to help me pinpoint what the source of the problem could be. My upcoming wedding, he announced to a forum called “Let’s Talk About Children’s Rights,” was “the worst betrayal of children’s rights I’ve ever seen; even more so than the Catholic church sex scandals.”

Children! How could I have missed it? This was truly a disaster, and I fear that all of it was, indeed, my fault. Having approved one of our reception’s meal options without having inspected it personally, I couldn’t be certain that the side dish wasn’t, in fact, made of children. In retrospect, this seems like an odd choice for a restaurant to have offered me in the first place, but I should have inquired more closely about the Succulent Rack of Soylent Chops before adding it to the menu. And now, with only a week to go, I can’t make any changes or substitutions.

It’s an inexcusable oversight, if it turns out to be true, but an oversight nonetheless. To play it safe, my fiancé and I will do our very best to alert guests that one of the meal options may possibly be made of children. This will hopefully deter our guests from consuming too many.

So, with that taken care of, I have this to say to the lobby groups: Kindly buzz off. My wedding is none of your business; you have no stake in it, and your attempts to suggest otherwise don’t hold water. So leave us—and everyone else celebrating their commitments to each other—alone.

Australian MP Wants His “Gay” Back

August 26th, 2011

Slap Upside The Head Presents: The Visual Bigot Test. Is this man a bigot? (An old man with a cowboy hat scowls.) Answer: By the HAMMER OF THOR, YES!

Same-sex marriage has been a fact of life in Canada for so long now that many of us have long forgotten the silly hysteria that led up to it. Yet, alas, anyone reading future history books will find that the mere discussion of allowing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples had prompted all kinds of vitriol about homosexuality in general throughout media and politics.

And so I draw your attention to Australia, which is currently entering the same silly throes that inevitably lead up to our equal rights.

Bob Katter, an independent MP, made all sorts of attention for himself last week when he declared that same-sex marriage deserves to be “laughed at and ridiculed.” An odd assertion on its own, but it was his comments on English semantics that elicit some very special ridicule today.

Speaking to supporters in front of the media, Katter waxed nostalgic about the time when the word gay meant “cheerful.” Quoting some old poetry, Katter called it “one of the most beautiful words in the English language,” before finally lashing out at gays: “No one has the right to take that word off us!”

Poor, poor Katter. Such trauma. Such injustice. What words are left for him to use in place of gay? Besides happy. And nice. And cheerful… Jolly, chipper, glad, jaunty, upbeat, lively, merry, pleasant, sunny, rosy, perky—you know what? I’ll just refer him to a thesaurus.

You see, no one has actually taken the word gay from anyone. There weren’t any regulating body offices for us gays to storm, after all. And dictionaries only ever report on existing usage patterns. No, the meaning of gay, like many, many other words, changed organically, evolving from popular usage. Gay people might have started using the word as a secret code in the 1960s to refer to each other, but it was the heterosexual majority that popularized that code into its full, modern meaning.

Of course, all this sentiment for the old meaning of gay is disingenuous to begin with. We clearly haven’t lost any expressive capabilities in this specific instance (again, please consult your thesaurus), and I highly doubt anyone could argue that changing words are inherently problematic. (When’s the last time you saw anyone lament that “terrific” no longer means “terror-inducing?”)

Here’s what Katter’s real beef is: The man resents homosexuality and doesn’t want any “nice” words to refer to us. People like Katter thinks they should be the ones who should decide what to call us. Well, tough beans, Katter. You already have an ample selection of nasty words for us at your disposal. I assume you’ve used them in private, and would be very interested to see if you’re ever brazen enough to use them in public.

Not to suggest that word gay will never change meanings again. English evolves, after all, but I expect that’ll only happen to “gay” again when gay people are finally fully accepted for who they are. One day, when there aren’t old coots like Katter around who are afraid of being associated—even fleetingly—with all things gay simply by using the word in other contexts, perhaps, then, other contexts will emerge. Until then, here’s a very special word that accurately describes Katter, and whose meaning has also changed radically within the past few decades: Douchebag.

United States Inches Toward Real Freedom

July 25th, 2011

La Liberté éclairant les États-Unis après une période d'hibernation

Well, I’m back from my vacation abroad, so let’s start up again with some short, but welcome news! New York officially started issuing same-sex marriage licenses yesterday, just days after President Barack Obama certified the end of the military’s silly “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned openly gay citizens from serving in the country.

Hundreds of New Yorkers lined up patiently to get their marriage certificates on Sunday, many of whom had waited for decades. The first couple to get their certificate was Phyllis Siegel, 77, and Connie Kopelov, 85, who have spent the last 23 years of their life together. The total number of marriage licenses issued the first day totaled 659, a new record for the state. A great day for the institution of marriage!

The official repeal of the ban on openly gay people in the army will happen on September 20th.

Congratulations to everyone who helped fight for both of these important steps in getting full equality. Keep it up, and soon everyone in the States will get the freedom they were promised!