French lawmakers move marriage equality bill forward
After a legislative vote, a bill aimed to legalize marriage equality in France is closer to becoming law. After more than 10 hours of debate, the French Senate voted 179-157 to approve a controversial section that would simply remove all references to gender on marriage applications. This was the most contested portion of the bill and it appears it will clear the legislature by June and move to President Francois Hollande’s desk. Hollande has promised to sign the bill and even campaigned on marriage equality as a core issue. Protests for and against the bill have drawn thousands to the capitol over the past few months.
Marriage equality gains more support
Support for marriage equality has increased in every state over the last decade, according to a report by the Williams Institute. Currently, support for gay marriage is approximately 36 percent in Utah. Elsewhere, a majority of citizens support gay marriage in the following states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. If public opinion continues, at least eight more states will have a majority support by 2014. Six states since 2009 have passed laws introducing marriage equality, while five more have passed civil union legislation. Nationally, more than 50 percent of Americans support gay marriage, according to the poll.
ACLU fights law that bans sex between same-sex teens
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada is filling a suit to overturn a state law that criminalizes consensual sex between minors. The law dictates that sex between two minors is an “infamous crime against nature” if the couple is of the same sex. The law carries a five-year prison sentence.
The ACLU filed suit on behalf of an anonymous client who was prosecuted for being in a relationship with another teen while they were both 17.
“Elko County prosecutors used the law to prosecute a minor for a consensual sexual relationship with another teenager even though both of them were above the age of consent,” said Staci Pratt, legal director for the ACLU of Nevada. “If the couple had been a boy and a girl rather than two boys, their conduct would not have been a crime.”
The statute, enacted in 1979, remains on the books even though Nevada repealed laws against “crimes against nature” between consenting adults back in 1993.
Okla. House votes on resolution to recognize straight marriage
Oklahoma lawmakers voted 84-0 to favor a resolution announcing state support for marriage being reserved for heterosexual couples. Before the vote, 13 Democrats walked out of chambers and openly gay Rep. Kay Floyd said he wouldn’t even justify the resolution with a vote. He expressed his desire to be completely disassociated with the bill.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Cleveland, told a local radio station he wasn’t homophobic but trying to focus on the moral fiber of the state.
“There have been a few emails saying that I’m spewing hate. I didn’t say anything about hate. There’s no hate in there at all,” Cleveland said.
Oklahoma already has a constitutional ban on gay marriage.