Today the LGBT Network submitted its petition to the Scottish Parliament, calling for the Marriage (Scotland) Act of 1977 to be amended to allow two persons of the same sex to register a civil marriage and to register a religious marriage, where the particular faith institution allowed it. In short; to bring marriage equality to Scotland.
The Civil Partnership Act of 2004 was passed by Westminster for the whole of the UK. The Scottish Executive consented to Westminster legislating a Scottish section within the Act. When a Civil Partnership is registered, the law mandates that it is performed in a secular manner. Therefore gay people of faith whose religion may wish to celebrate their marriage are not allowed to have that done. Nor does the Act offer any provision for a ceremony to be held when the partnership is signed, as opposed to marriage where words have to be spoken as well as the register signed.
The Scottish Parliament was founded on the value of equality; that every citizen is entitled to the same rights as all others, and to be respected and protected by the government we elect. Although the Civil Partnership Act was and is groundbreaking, the status quo remains that there is one law for straight couples and another law for gay couples. The fact that they have equal status does not detract from the fact that they are separate and different.
If we truly believe in equality; if we actually want to live in a society where citizens are treated the same no matter what their sexuality, then allowing separate but equal to remain the law of the land simply cannot stand. The era of discrimination and segregation based on the colour of a persons’ skin began to be dismantled with the US Supreme Court ruling that “separate but equal is inherently unequal.”
Yet more than 50 years later, we are still denied access to the basic institution of marriage in the UK. Instead we have been given something that although is considered equal under the law, is also considered separate. A gay couple that is legally married in Spain or South Africa has thier marriage changed to a civil partnership when they come to the UK. A Canadian couple went to the High Court in 2006, seeking to have their legally valid Canadian marriage recognised as such under UK law, just as heterosexual marriages are recognised no matter where they are performed in the world. Sir Mark Potter, the High Court Judge rejected their plea in Wilkinson v. Kitzinger. In his judgement he stated how civil partnerships were indeed different from marriage, and that the government, in denying gay couples the right to marry, was engaging in a legitimate attempt to protect marriage and family life. He also effectively fined the couple £25,000 by making them pay the governments legal costs.
More recently in October 2008, Lord Bach, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice reaffirmed the British governments opposition to same sex marriage. He states that when the government passed the bill “we made a distinction in it and did not call single-sex partnerships marriage… it did not call those partnerships marriage, and that remains the Government’s policy.”
That blatant inequality is incompatible with the values of the Scottish Parliament. It conflicts with the principles of Scottish law, and is contradictory to the inalienable rights of every citizen.
The definition of marriage is not static; it changes as our society does. For many centuries, marriage was a mere contract to better the position of one family or to remove rivalry with another. Our interpretation of what constitutes a relationship has progressed from a wife being considered little more than the property of her husband to a partnership of equals; and our society now stands at the point where it affords equal protection to couples regardless of gender. So what then are the reasons for allowing only marriage for straight couples and civil partnership for gay couples? If they are really the same, why are there two different laws and two different forms to fill in at the registrar’s office?
The word marriage evokes timeless values of love and commitment, and it radiates a clarity of status in society as well as a subtle collection of personal, social and spiritual meanings that two people are united in all aspects of their life. Marriage is the strongest word we have for a declaration of total love and commitment to one another; and to deny any person that opportunity is to deny the full measure of dignity and humanity that we are all endowed with.
Can our society not be one where two people decide what status is best for them? Straight couples who wish to get married already get the choice between having a religious or civil ceremony. But of course there are some straight couples who would balk at the thought of even entering into a civil marriage, and would perhaps prefer a civil partnership, free of some of the associations and imagery that marriage brings. Just as how there are gay couples, who embrace the concept of marriage, and wish to celebrate their love by entering into this ancient institution, be that as a civil ceremony or one conducted by a progressive religion.
By denying same sex couples the right to marry on the grounds that some religious groups are opposed to it, enshrines that particular religious dogma into law, and ignores the diversity of faith groups that exist who would willingly marry two people of the same sex. In terms of performing religious marriage, it must be up to that particular faith to decide who to marry, not any government or parliament. Our 21st century state must respect the pluralism of belief and the diversity of faith that exists in Britain.
This petition is but one small step in the road to full equality and participation in every aspect of society. As we have seen from the battles over same sex marriage in the United States, there are those who will spend all they can and will fight to the very last to prevent gay couples being married. This does not mean we should run from the fight. We should not be afraid of standing up for what we believe in just because someone else is preparing to knock us down. And we should never be willing to compromise on our fundamental values, on our basic human rights or on our belief in the morality of equality.
This makes it incumbent on all of us who wish to live in a more equal world that we do not let someone else fight for a right we wish to enjoy. This is not the LGBT Networks campaign for marriage equality, this is simply a petition we thought was a good idea.
The campaign must come from all of us; from the group of friends who debate amongst themselves whether they would really be happy with a civil partnership; from the young person who isn’t happy to accept she is growing up in a country that wont afford her the same rights enjoyed by others; and from the happy couple who go down to the registry office, and instead of asking for civil partnership documents, demand that they be allowed to marry.
Some will say that there are more important things to do, and in some ways that’s true. But we can do more than one thing at a time. Putting your name to a petition or starting a conversation doesn’t detract from anything else that needs done.
But change doesn’t just happen. If we want it, we have to act like it. We have to stand up to those that say marriage should only be for straight people, or that civil partnerships are enough for us or don’t rock the boat to much in case some people don’t agree. Of course there are going to be people who are against this, but we should never shrink from the fight just because we might get hit.
In 2009, the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, I think about those courageous individuals who fought hand to hand with the police, to assert their right to exist, to be themselves openly and to be with the people they love, free from intimidation and harassment. Their legacy is not the laws that favour us, but our desire, our passion, and our right to be equal.
Every week there seems to be a story on the Pink News website about homophobic content on the BBC, and more often than not there is a follow up story about how the BBC has ignored those complaints or defended jokes about hanging gays in Iran or nasty slurs against Linsday Lohan and lesbians.
It seems to take a bandwagon as big as Russell Brand and Jonathan for the BBC to acknowledge that has done anything wrong.
But this ignores the bigger issue. I think that with the multitude of programmes that are broadcast over a sprawling network as large as the BBC that is so closely related to British society, there are bound to be incidents where we as a community are offended or attacked, still so pervasive in British society.
But within a network as sprawling and as diverse as the BBC, there is no space for the gay community to defend itself against such attacks, or use the media as a way to educate people about the LGBT community and reinforce that such attacks are not acceptable.
If there was a racial slur made against an Asian person on a mainstream BBC programme, there would rightly be indignation within the Asian community, with space for debate provided by the Asian media, such as the BBC Asian Network.
I think it’s a great thing to have such diversity on the BBC. It is funded by pretty much everyone in the UK, and therefore communities within Britain deserve space and time on our national broadcaster to discuss and debate issues important to the community, to develop the communities’ culture and promote new trends and different ideas.
How much do you think the BBC spends on programmes directed at the LGBT community? Well, they wouldn’t tell me when I asked, but they were more than happy to tell me that they were “determined to portray fully-rounded gay & lesbian ‘normalised’ characters in our television output.”
I might have been also interested, according to this freedom of information response, to know that there are gay people on Doctors, Dog Borstal, and there was an entire documentary on BBC Three one time, called. The Trouble With Gay Men.
It is to the BBC’s credit that they include openly gay characters (although there is less good to be said about the inclusion of Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender people) on a few of their mainstream shows, but I fail to see how that significantly benefits the gay community, when it’s still just a token gay in a programme that is overwhelmingly heterosexist. It can even be detrimental in trying to build a gay culture that LGBT characters are portrayed with everyone around them being so cool with their sexuality that to the casual straight viewer, it appears that there are no real problems facing the community anymore.
One must only glance a few times a week at websites such as pinknews.co.uk to see that there are dozens of stories every day that are of supreme interest to gay people, but maybe not to anyone else.
What we lack in Britain is the space to discuss them, to debate and to challenge British society and our own community.
There is not the time on mainstream BBC to look at the range of issues that affect us in depth, and to give our culture and our history the proper investigations and debate that it so sorely deserves.
There lacks the opportunities for LGBT people to have programmes that deal with LGBT issues or are really only of interest to the LGBT community to have that reach the target audience through the mass media.
When a homophobic slur is made on a mainstream programme, there is nowhere for us to talk about it as a community; to look at the issues behind what was said, or to debate our place in British society.
According to research carried out by Stonewall, LGBT people provide around £200 million of the license fee, and in return we are subject to homophobic abuse on a weekly basis, and confronted by a wall of silence when we complain to the BBC.
To start with, there needs to be LGBT dedicated programming across the vast array of the BBC network. Programmes that are aimed at the gay community and deal with issues important to us, and that should encourage LGBT people themselves to be involved in the programme at all stages of development. For example, a daily radio talk shows that discusses LGBT news and current events, that can ask the tough questions to politicians and public figures on issues that are important to us. Or a weekly TV show that gives a roundup of gay entertainment, music, movies and books, and space for up and coming LGBT stars to make their name.
Now I am not a TV producer, but there are plenty of LGBT people who are or who have better ideas than this, and we are entitled to have the BBC listen to us. Eventually I want to see a digital TV and radio station that provides the broad range of programming that our community deserves. This is not about segregation of news or entertainment, but it is about providing a space in British society for LGBT people to have their say, a say that is long overdue.
Director, LGBT Network
Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada. It is situated in the midst of the southern Nevada desert landscape. The city has giant mega-casino hotels which give lavish care and attention to create a fantasy like atmosphere. The casinos often have names and themes that evoke romance, mystery, and far-away destinations. You can go there by plane, car, rail and ship. There are lots of mountain activities, tennis and gambling there.
One of my friends went to Las Vegas .after returning he showed me the videos and pictures of Las Vegas. I got impressed by Las Vegas that I decided to go to Las Vegas. Then I decided to go to Las Vegas and now I am going to Las Vegas. I went to Las Vegas by plane. It was an interesting journey as I am afraid of traveling in the plane. For staying I had already booked a hotel room. That hotel I searched from the internet as cheap hotels in las vegas. The very first day I reached to the hotel I was little bit tired. So I rested and after resting I took a nice coffee and wake up fully with no laziness. After that I decided to go outside and to travel some interesting places.
Firstly I went to see Treasure Island. Treasure Island Hotel and Casino (sometimes just called the TI) is an energetic, sophisticated resort replete with elite amenities, including "Mystère" by Cirque du Soleil. Treasure Island also offers the beautiful, tempting Sirens of TI in a battle of the sexes with a band of renegade pirates at Sirens' Cove. VIP Viewing is exclusive to TI hotel guests at these FREE live performances each night. "Mystère" has an international cast of 72 performers. Then I went in Caesars Palace Hotel Casino. Perhaps the most well known casino and hotel on the Vegas Strip is Caesars Palace. Owners really work hard to offer newest and hottest trends to the customers. You can shop from here. You can relax here with Roman pillars, marble statues, manicured gardens, and refreshing whirlpools. Then I went to Venetian Resort & Casino. It is five-diamond rated resort that spoils you with romance and charm. Casino area includes a variety of table games, slots, and a sports lounge, you can shop. The most charming part of the hotel is the canal, on the second floor, that peacefully flows around the hotel. You can hire a gondola ride and you can have dinner there with your loved one.
The second day I went to see sunset park. One of Las Vegas largest parks, located just south of town next to the McCarran Airport. Picnics to festivals are the activities which go on there. There is a large lake between which a replica of Easter Island presents. "Ren Fair" held here throughout the year where people dress up in their medieval attire and enjoy a range of things to do such as sword fighting, dog races, and concerts.
The third day I went to paris las vegas. Eiffel towers replica is present here above the 20 stories but this replica is small in size due to airspace restrictions near the airport. you will find you in front of the neon sign resembling the Montgolfier balloon, and be awed by the spectacular array of lights that brighten up the night sky.
The forth day I went for shopping. I purchased some of the goods which were cheap in the city. I bought a pair of shoes and a t-shirt for me. I ate some food in the local city and I returned back with my luggage with me and with sweet memories.
Dewey Beach is in the US state of Delaware. I went to see the city and I am presenting the brief overview of the city. I stayed in one of the cheap hotels in dewey beach. This hotel provides me a great discount on the cheap prices. Facilities and services they were offering were of world class. Dewey beach is popular as a party town in the summer, and is particularly popular in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Wilmington areas. Its one side is ocean and one side is bay. It is a small town which is one mile long and only two blocks wide. Numerous bars and rock clubs line Coastal Highway. In summer coastal highway is choked with bar goers hopping from one nightspot to other. Dewey beach is a famous family resort as it has a very wide beach. Dewey Beach Music Conference and grey hound reach the beach festival are the two popular events which happen in the town. This area is popular for water sports such as skim boarding, windsurfing, and catamaran sailing. Sunsets over the bay provide a romantic atmosphere and enhance the nightlife. A popular activity is treasure hunting on the beach with metal detectors. I suggest to all readers that don’t waste your money too much on the hotel you are staying. You just chill outside and visit approximately every famous place. Stay in cheap hotels. I enjoyed a lot there and want to go again there. Then I returned home back with sweet memories.
Just finished watching Milk. It was a well written and a powerful film. Such great acting aswell. I hope it does well when it comes out here in the UK.
I recommend it.
Oh and to those who are in the UK and want to see it here is an online link for you xD
Here is the link, its in two parts
Hope it works!
On the 18th December 2008 a declaration supporting the equal human rights of GLBTIQ people was read out at the UN General Assembly in New York. It affirms the principle of universality: that all human beings, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to equal dignity and respect. No-one should be subject to violence, harassment, discrimination or abuse, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It was finally signed and supported by 66 countries around the world. South Africa was NOT one of them.
Instead, South Africa chose to side with despotic disrespectors of human rights such as the Vatican and numerous Muslim theocracies who follow policies which victimize GLBTIQ people and condemn them to death by execution - as well as those blatantly homophobic and fascist African countries such as Uganda - who have taken to outlawing homosexuality and persecuting diversity and the diverse as criminals.
It is rather disconcerting that the only country in Africa to so far show support for equality and human rights for GLBTIQ chose to ignore calls by GLBTIQ groups and the weight of conscience applied by voices from around the civilized world - simply ignored the issue as if it never existed. In fact, aside from some mentions on exclusively non-heterosexual news websites, almost no mention of this event and the SA governments unpardonable lapse in judgment was made in the mainstream media.
It is an affront to South Africans with a clear understanding of issues surrounding equal civil rights in SA that the representatives of the SA Government could in a radio interview today attempt to transfer their complicity in this matter by pointing fingers at other countries and claiming that human rights activists should rather tackle "bigger issues" like the USA's Guatanamo Bay human rights violation allegations, than criticizing SA for "having principles". Such a brass faced statement should make fair minded South Africans wonder what exactly these "principles" are that were being referred to and whether they should start applying for a passport.
While this UN declaration carries no legally binding implications for the governments who ratified it, this choice to not support the international initiative simply adds to the repugnance of the SA government's emerging disdain for its own non-heterosexual citizens. Here they had an ideal opportunity to stand up for justice, equality and all the things that make SA a beacon of light in the dark mass of ignorance and unjust persecution on the continent and to speak as a voice of reason in the face of institutionalized bigotry and despotism. Instead they chose to stand with the human rights abusers and deliver a resounding slap in the face of not only every GLBTIQ citizen of South Africa - but to every GLBTIQ person in the world.
It is therefore a major concern to us which path South Africa will be following after the 2009 elections. Considering the homophobic utterences of Mr Zuma and his cronies, the concerns of GLBTIQ citizens in SA now seem validated, even compounded by this disgrace. The government of the day has therefore - very publicly - shown where its interests lie; and following this incident it certainly does not seem to share our interests as GLBTIQ citizens of South Africa.
We therefore urge all SA voters to ensure they vote according to their consciences in the coming 2009 General Election - and above all not to vote for parties who show no interest in GLBTIQ equality - (or to be precise, those who clearly ignore and even trivialize issues surrounding homophobia, hate crime, heterosexism and persecution) - but instead to vote for any other party who does. Contrary to popular belief there are still a few of those left in SA. - SA GLAAD 2008
We're expanding an changing, reacting to the wishes of our readers. In our recent insight survey of the subscribers of our newsletter, many wanted to be able to interact more with us and each other. In response, we have developed my.pinknews.co.uk- a new social network platform. Beyond all of the normal features of any social networking site such as profiles, walls and messages, we're also handing control over to you.
For the first time, readers can write their own news stories and share their experiences of life in the LGBT to the wider world. Community groups can upload press releases directly ensuring that their message is seen by all. There will be a feed of the latest articles on the main website and some stories will be re-published and shared with the thousands who read our email newsletter every day.
It's an experiment, so excuse any bugs but let us know of any feedback you have.