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February 22, 2013

News Briefs

British House of Commons passes full marriage bill

London--After a full day of debate, the House of Commons approved a same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales by a vote of 400 to 175.

While the measure was championed by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, slightly less than half of the Conservative MPs voted in favor of the bill. Voting against it were 136 Conservatives, while 127 voted in favor, five abstained by voting for and against the bill and 35 did not vote.

Cameron is in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, and has had to appeal to both halves. He, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and junior justice minister Helen Grant all called it a big step forward for equality.

It was a free vote for ministers, meaning that their party whips did not try to get them to vote one way or the other.

The bill likely faces harsher scrutiny in the House of Lords, which tends to be more conservative than the House of Commons.

Eleven countries now have full marriage equality nationwide; three others, including the United States, have it in some areas.

French bill also passes by wide margin

Paris--The first article of legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children passed by a more than two-to-one margin on February 2.

That first piece of the legislation would define marriage as being between two people, rather than between a man and a woman.

The rest of the bill faces at least a week of debate in the legislature, but the 249-97 margin by which the first part passed indicates that the entire bill is likely to move forward.

The measure is supported by the Socialist Party, who have a clear majority in the National Assembly, as well as other left-leaning parties.

The day after the vote, tens of thousands of marriage equality supporters marched through the streets of Paris. Police estimated 125,000 people, while organizers claim 400,000.

Ontario has Canada’s first out premier

Toronto--Canada’s most populous province made history twice on January 26, as Liberals selected Kathleen Wynne as their new leader.

She will now become the province’s premier, the equivalent of a state governor in the U.S. She will be Ontario’s first female premier, and Canada’s first out LGBT one.

With 57 percent of the vote from the provincial legislature’s Liberals, she edged out a center-right front-runner, Sandra Pupatello, marking a shift to the left for the party in the province.

She held the positions of Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the province, as well as that of Aboriginal Affairs. She resigned from the former position to seek the party leadership.

She is expected to be named premier when Dalton McGuinty officially resigns on February 11.

Quinn endorsed for New York mayor

New York City--Christine Quinn, the lesbian speaker of New York City Council, nabbed a mayoral endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign on February 1, just days after she was endorsed for mayor by the Empire State Pride Agenda.

While Quinn has yet to formally announce her candidacy, she is a front-runner to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

If Quinn were elected, New York, with 8.2 million people, would become the largest city in the world with an out mayor. That honor is currently held by Berlin with Mayor Kurt Wowereit, at 3.3 million people; followed by Paris’ Bertrand Delanoë at 2.2 million. Annise Parker leads Houston’s 2.1 million residents to take the lead in the United States.

“New York needs Christine Quinn because she approaches every issue she cares about with passion and drive,” HRC president Chad Griffin said. “Whether it’s equality for all New Yorkers, great public schools or 21st century infrastructure, Chris is ready to fight for the city New Yorkers deserve.”

Man wanted to put down his ‘gay’ dog

Jackson, Tenn.--A dog owner took his pooch to an animal shelter on January 29 to be put down because he saw him humping another male dog.

Jackson Rabies Control confirmed to the Huffington Post that the man turned the dog in because he thought it was gay.

The pit bull/American bulldog mix was scheduled to be euthanized at 1 pm on January 31, but after a Facebook firestorm, a woman associated with an animal rescue group adopted him from the high-kill shelter and will place him with an adoptive family.

According to ABC News, Stepahnie Fryns, the woman who rescued him, says the dog is friendly, but a little scared.

“But he loved the car ride,” Fryns said.

While dogs can be gay, a male dog humping another male dog is more likely because of play, nervousness, excitement or an attempt to assert dominance.

49er rebuked for anti-gay comment

San Francisco--Cornerback Chris Culliver may have cost his team the Super Bowl when he was called for pass interference with nine minutes left in the game, but his anti-gay comments a week earlier on a radio show likely caused a distraction which his team could not afford that close to the big game.

When comedian and radio personality Artie Lange asked on January 29 if Culliver would accept a gay teammate, the 49er said, “I don’t do the gay guys, man . . . No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do . . . Can’t be with that sweet stuff.”

He drew criticism from Super Bowl opponent Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens, who is an outspoken proponent of same-sex marriage, as well as Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, who called for Culliver to have sensitivity training. The Seattle Seahawks’ Jon Ryan said Culliver should be suspended for his remarks.

Culliver was rebuked by team management and issued an apology, saying that his comments did not reflect what was in his heart. He will receive sensitivity training from the Trevor Project, which works with LGBT youth.

Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.











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