Welcome to this week’s What's Happening, Hot Stuff?? or should that be 'welcome back' as we have been somewhat AWOL in the past weeks. For this we apologise, and would firstly like to blame London for throwing such a good St Patrick's Day celebration - check out our Facebook page for photos - secondly Sarah's Mum celebrated her birthday so she disappeared to Reading for the weekend and thirdly London had it's hottest March since 1957 (or something) so we headed out into the world minus the laptops! Oh and the Egg Hunt continued.
And so without further ado, we shall bring you up to speed with the goings-on that have caught our attention since our last WHHS.
There is a 12-week consultation on lifting the ban on gay couples marrying in a civil ceremony in England and Wales, organised by the government - and in one of the proposals, current civil partnerships could be converted to marriages if couples wish. Yay, we would much rather be civil-married than civil-partnered!
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “I believe that if a couple love each other and want to commit to a life together, they should have the option of a civil marriage, whatever their gender. Marriage is a celebration of love and should be open to everyone.” – ahh, it’s always nice to see someone who shares our views getting the chance to speak so publicly.
The consultation document says the government proposes to:
• enable same-sex couples to get married through civil ceremonies.
• retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples, including the ability to have a civil partnership registration on religious premises (on a voluntary basis and retaining the ban on any religious elements forming part of the registration).
• allow transsexual people to change their legal gender without having to legally end their existing marriage or civil partnership.
• make no changes to how religious marriages are solemnized.
Responses must be received by 14 June 2012 – so go fill it in if you haven’t already! http://www.c4em.org.uk/
In other marriage news, it was announced today that the awful Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien is to make a sermon today where he is expected to announce a partial reversal in the Catholic Church’s opposition of civil marriage equality for gay couples. Although the Church will continue to oppose same sex marriages happening within religious institutions, it appears to concede that same sex civil marriages will be a reality regardless of its opposition.
In a sermon, leaked to PinkNews.co.uk, he is expected to say: “Over recent weeks there has been much discussion of so-called ‘gay marriage,’ proposed by the both Scottish and British Governments under the guise of civil marriage equality. My attitude towards homosexuals and homosexuality remains firmly entrenched in the Catholic teaching, with which you are all familiar. We in the Church opposed the introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples even as some amongst us now say that we have supported them for many years.” The Cardinal is expected to add that he has listened to the ongoing debate “with interest and concern” and that he has read Home Secretary, Theresa May’s article in The Times where she makes it clear that the Government will proceed with equal civil marriage despite Church opposition. He also expresses his lack of understanding, having never had what “people would call an adult relationship.”
A Downing Street source told PinkNews.co.uk: “We are glad that the message is finally getting through to people that civil marriage equality does not encroach upon the Church. This sermon shows that miracles can happen, especially on a Sunday.”
The cardinal’s sermon is expected to finish just before midday and PinkNews.co.uk understands it will be mirrored in sermons by other Catholic leaders across England and Wales including by Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster. – He's backtracking completely on what he said a few weeks ago - Let’s hope this isn’t an April Fools!
And good news for Exeter, as it played host to one of the biggest gay pride celebrations in the South West, with a 50 m long rainbow flag floating down the High Street to Exeter Phoenix. According to the BBC, hundreds of marchers including firefighters and the local police took part in the celebrations, which were led by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Roads were closed to normal traffic along the route of the parade on Saturday, thereby commencing a weekend of back-to-back events. The chairman of the Exeter Pride Committee, Alan Quick, told the BBC: ”Exeter Pride is a celebration of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. It is about us having pride in our contributions to a vibrant and diverse city, and the city having pride in us.” We wish we were there!!
This comes as a recent ‘Equality South West’ reveals disturbing survey results; one in eight gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living in South West England have been the victim of homophobic abuse in the workplace. The survey found that 40% of respondents did not feel safe in their own home while one in six have been a victor of abuse or harassment after dark. This is so sad and just shows that there is still a long way to go to gain equality.
As National Women’s Day showed us we are still fighting to get women on an equal footing in the world of work, take a look at this enlightening video, I think some of the statics might surprise you….
This week, the National Organisation for Marriage, America’s leading group fighting same-sex marriage, is hitting headlines. Rev. Ralph A. Martino, senior pastor at First Church of Christ (Holiness) USA in Washington, D.C. a black pastor and a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, found a leak of the organisations confidential memos this week revealed its plans to defeat marriage equality campaigns by "fanning the hostility" between blacks and gays.
"The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks -- two key Democratic constituencies," states one of the memos. "Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots," continued the memo, part of a set of documents that emerged as a result of a Maine lawsuit and then were leaked by the Human Rights Campaign. Ooops someone getting into trouble for that!
You may have also seen that this September, Nepal is set to host the country’s first – and indeed Asia’s first – national games for LGBT persons. The games will showcase LGBT sportspersons competing in games and sports including volleyball, football, athletics, martial arts, tennis and more. Sunil Babu Pant (yep, Mr Pant J), head of the group and organiser of the games, said: “There will be five teams from each region of the country. And we expect over 200 people to take part.” Nepal will soon become the first country in Asia to give equal rights to its LGBT population, which means citizenship IDs for trans persons and legal recognition for marriage between same-sex couples.
In good news, this week Gay Star News exclusively revealed today (1 April) the Olympics has come out to say that it plans to add a gay pink ring to the flag. The International Olympic Committee will unveil new flag at London closing ceremony for Russia and Brazil games to push LGBT sport. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to alter the Olympic flag for four years in a global drive to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport. The new flag will be unveiled at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 games and will be used for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will also fly during the Paralympic Games in both countries. Wow, its a great idea and a wonderful show of support on an international stage, but crazy that it will go into practice right before the Russian games - as they are still trying to get that 'Don't say gay' anti gay propaganda law passed!!
|Not long now......|
And speaking of the Olympics, Sarah spent Tuesday afternoon watching helicopters flying over outside her window wondering what was going on only to find out that the commotion was all because James Bond star Daniel Craig was invited to open the London Olympics as 007 from Queen Elizabeth herself. The highly anticipated sporting event is set to be introduced by a short film starring Craig being appointed to open the ceremony by Royal Appointment, the Sun reports. Her Majesty herself may even be set for a cameo role in the introductory film, although spokespeople for the Palace have remained tight-lipped. We presume our invite for a cameo is in the post – I mean, we can just pop in - we don’t need a helicopter!
We will leave you with Pepsi Max's latest advert as it made us smile - while it will NEVER taste as good as DC -they certainly make good ads!
Until next time.....Laura & Sarah xo