Woah - what a week it’s been! On a personal level, we’ve had a brilliant week as you may have guessed from the posts, but on a news front I think it’s fair to say news from America has been keeping us engaged.
Following on from the good news that Washington state’s governor signed gay marriage into law, the Maryland House of Delegates has passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage that is widely expected to be passed by the state senate and already has the support of the governor Martin O’Malley. The victory was publicised by eight openly LGBT state lawmakers whose personal appeals helped sway crucial votes in support of marriage equality. They all spoke about what marriage means to them and to their families and it made all the difference.
Martin O’Malley's statement was as follows: “Even people that do not yet agree with us on this issue, there’s a lot of goodness in each and every individual, and we need to engage in that goodness. We need to call people to that goodness. We need to call people together in the centre of that circle that makes us a great state — that makes us a great country — because we believe in the dignity of every individual, and we believe in the advancement of the greater good.”
Onto the bad news - the New Jerseyans had their hopes raised, and then slashed in the space of a week. After getting the gay marriage bill through the houses it was immediately veto’d by Governor Chris Christie (by the way did his parents find that name funny at his birth?!?!?!). Democrats who had pushed the bill forward said they were disappointed, but not surprised, by Christie's action. "It's unfortunate that the governor would let his own personal ideology infringe on the rights of thousands of New Jerseyans," said Reed Gusciora, one of two openly gay New Jersey lawmakers and a sponsor of the bill. "For all those who oppose marriage equality, their lives would have been completely unchanged by this bill, but for same-sex couples, their lives would have been radically transformed. Unfortunately, the governor couldn't see past his own personal ambitions to honour this truth."
Senate President Steve Sweeney was more blunt in his criticism of the governor. "He had a chance to do the right thing, and failed miserably," Sweeney said.
To show that not all voters in really conservative places think like Mr Christie, here is an interesting clip that gave us some hope.
Speaking of doing the right thing, Gay rights campaigners and prominent government ministers have blasted England’s top football clubs for failing to sign up to a campaign to tackle homophobia in the sport.
According to The Independent, government ministers and equality campaigners are furious that only 16 of 160 contacted clubs have leant their support to the annual Football v Homophobia campaign, a nine-day event that started on Saturday. According to The Independent, among the 16 teams that have signed up to the campaign are Premier League clubs Arsenal, Aston Villa, Fulham, Liverpool, Newcastle United and Norwich City. Sarah’s hoping to see her home town team Reading join the list soon!
Comedian Ricky Gervais (one our fav comedians and from Sarah’s home town) has hit out at religious parents who tell their children if they “turn out gay, they will burn in hell”, arguing that the threats amount to “child abuse”. Speaking on CNN’s Piers Morgan Show on Friday night, Ricky said, “I’ve got nothing against people believing in God at all. In fact, if it did make you a kinder person, if you only did good things in his name, then great. But there’s the rub.” The 50-year-old star of The Office added: “It’s when I see some of these religious fundamentalists saying that they’ve told their five-year-old children that if they turn out gay, they will burn in hell. That to me is child abuse. That’s nothing to do with religion or spirituality. That’s child abuse. So that’s why I’m passionate when it comes to that.”
The outspoken comedian also blasted Republican presidential candidates’ views on gay marriage. He said: “Well, with this, we’re back to offence, aren’t we? Just because they’re offended by someone being gay, it doesn’t mean they’re right. It’s a strange thing that they say being gay is a choice. No, being gay isn’t a choice, you know? I want to go, ‘Look, you try it, then. If it’s a choice, have a go.’” Go Mr Gevais – everyone knows we Reading folk speak sense! Fun fact, we produced Kate Winslet too!
We saw this from Anne Hathaway on the same issue:
In controversial news, the former First Lady of Liberia has reportedly tabled a bill which could make homosexuality in the country punishable by death in her new capacity as a senator. AFP reported that Jewel Howard Taylor, ex-wife of former president Charles Taylor, wants gay sex to attract a penalty ranging from 10 years imprisonment to execution. The proposed change to the country’s marriage laws reads: “No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony.” The office of Jewel Howard Taylor told PinkNews.co.uk she was “not homophobic and does not harbour any hatred towards gays”, and said the first degree felony created is actually one of attempting to enter into a gay marriage, not of performing gay sex acts.
An official statement by the government last month said: “The Liberian government will not allow the legalisation of gay and lesbian activities in Liberia. The president has vowed not to allow such a bill, and even if the bill goes before the president she will veto it.” Ah well at least Liberia isn’t on the ‘to visit’ list.
To end on a positive note, no pun intended, a charity single raising money to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying has become a sensation. The L Project’s debut 'It Does Get Better' aims to raise as much money as possible to help combat anti-gay and trans bullying using the most talented lesbian UK performers. It has made number 1 in Amazon UK’s Best Sellers Rock and Folk Charts and has drawn nearly 44,000 views on Youtube since its release on Saturday. Proceeds will go to Stonewall and Diversity Role Models. The song can be bought at Amazon and iTunes, where it is available to download.
On a personal note we have updated our February photo-a-day here so check it out!
That's it for this edition, folks - we hope you have a lovely week!!
Until next time,
Sarah & Laura xo