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November 16, 2012

News Briefs

Obama ‘absolutely delighted’ with state marriage wins

Washington, D.C.--Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, speaking on November 8, said the president was “so absolutely delighted” by the marriage victories in four states during the general election.

In a conference call with Human Rights Campaign supporters, Jarrett said that Obama believes those four states, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, saw voters come “down on the right side of history,” according to Buzzfeed.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that Wisconsin is sending Tammy Baldwin to the Senate,” she added.

The conference call also heard from Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP, which endorsed same-sex marriage this year, and New Hampshire governor-elect Maggie Hassan and representative-elect Sean Patrick Maloney of New York

Anti-mob crusader wins Sicily top post

Palermo, Sicily--Rosario Crocetta, an openly gay anti-Mafia crusader, is leading in the vote to become the next governor of Sicily.

His main competition is Sebastiano Musumeci, representing Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s PDL center-right party.

The island was a stronghold for Berlusconi’s party, but if Crocetta takes it, he will not only break that hold, but become the first gay governor of the island.

Crocetta, citing Oscar Wilde’s move to Palermo after getting out of prison, said that the south of Italy is very relaxed about the sexual orientation of their politicians. Considering that Berlusconi himself is known for hiring prostitutes for large parties, it seems the entire country is fairly relaxed about what their leaders get up to.

Crocetta persuaded local businesses not to pay protection money to mobsters when he was the mayor of Gela, and he has survived three attempts on his life.

Spain high court upholds marriage

Madrid--The Constitutional Court, Spain’s highest judicial authority, on November 6 upheld the country’s same-sex marriage law.

In 2005, Spain became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage after Belgium and the Netherlands. The bill was put through by the Socialist government, which was defeated last year by the Popular Party, which leans right.

The court voted 8-3 to dismiss the Popular Party’s challenge to the law, which contended that the constitution’s definition of marriage is only that between a man and a woman.

Most residents of the country favor the law, although the Catholic church opposes it, illustrating a sharp divide between the church and its flock.

Eleven nations now have full marriage laws. The others are Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, and Sweden.

France and Britain are also considering full marriage, and may enact it next year. Parts of Mexico and nine U.S. states have also have marriage equality laws.

Inmate pleads guilty to hate crime

Seagoville, Texas--An inmate in federal prison pleaded guilty to a hate crime charge on November 8 for beating a fellow inmate he thought was gay.

John Hall pleaded guilty under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act for the December 20, 2011 attack.

Hall said he repeatedly punched and kicked him, calling him anti-gay slurs, because he thought he was gay. The assault came under federal jurisdiction immediately because it occurred in a federal prison.

“The Justice Department continues to investigate and prosecute acts of violence targeting individuals because of their sexual orientation,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. “This case is just another example of the department’s commitment to the pursuit of justice on behalf of all people regardless of their sexual preference or orientation.”

Hall could get an additional ten years for the attack.

France may be next with vows

Paris--The Socialist government of President François Hollande on November 7 outlined their draft bill to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption, a major plank of Hollande’s campaign.

The Catholic church, along with other religious denominations, have expressed their opposition, but Hollande has promised the legislation will be on the books by the middle of next year. France already allows civil unions.

While two-thirds of French people favor full same-sex marriage, opinions are split fairly evenly on the issue of allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, although Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Holland, Spain, Norway and Sweden already allow such adoptions.

The bill will not allow single gay men or lesbians to adopt children, but that might be added later, as will access to assisted conception.

Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.












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