Marriage equality news from the United States and abroad from our June/July issue, now on stands.
The big news of the season is the success of the “Yes” in the Republic of Ireland. The vote was historic for many reasons, most notably for being the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage via referendum. The vote also saw huge voter turnout (60 percent of 3.2 million eligible voters), including many flying home specifically to vote, and a relatively quick turnaround from decriminalizing homosexuality in 1993 to passing the referendum with a 62-percent endorsement. This news may become a standard-bearer as people see a Roman Catholic country embrace marriage equality.
Sharon Haller, owner of Cut the Cake bakery in Longwood, FL, was approached by Arizona internet evangelist Joshua Feuerstein, who wanted to place an order for a cake that would read we do not support gay marriage. Feuerstein recorded the conversation, and when Haller refused to print the anti-gay message, he posted the call online and hundreds of threats flooded the bakery phone lines. Recording conversations without consent is a felony in Florida, and Feuerstein (who has a long history of harassing supporters of gay marriage) could face up to five years in prison.
Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson ordered officials to start processing same-sex marriage applications after Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan (a lesbian couple who have been together for nine years and live with three foster children) sued over the territory’s marriage laws. “The department is advised to treat all same-gender marriage applications with dignity and equality under the Constitution,” Barrett-Anderson announced.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the right to equal protection. A federal judge in Louisville had previously struck down the state’s gay marriage ban last year, but that ruling was overturned by the decision of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Puerto Rico has announced it will no longer defend Article 68 of its Civil Code, which contains rules against same-sex marriage. “Our constitutional system does not allow discriminatory distinctions such as that contained in the Civil Code concerning the rights of same-sex couples,” stated Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla. “We must push for progress in civil and human rights for all citizens equally.”
This spring Slovenia became the 11th country in the European Union to allow same-sex marriage. The historic vote made Slovenia the first Eastern European country to approve marriage equality. The country will also extend adoption rights to same-sex couples, putting heat on nearby Croatia, Hungary and Latvia, where constitutions still define marriage as between a man and a woman. Slovenia is widely considered to be the most progressive of the states that formerly constituted Yugoslavia.
As we finish putting together our 2015 Pride Issue, we await the U.S. Supreme Court’s important ruling on whether states are required to issue same-sex marriage licenses and recognize such licenses when issued in other states. As with past rulings, we are hopeful the Court will rule in favor of gay marriage proponents. A decision is expected by the end of June.
Last modified: March 9, 2018