Gay marriage is happening in a lot of new places this week. For example, our nation’s capitol. After the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to step in and block the implementation of DC’s law allowing for gay marriage, couples were free to line up in front of the D.C. Superior Court to get their marriage certificates.
According to the Washington Post some couples started lining up as early as 6 a.m.:
About 45 couples with their coffee, newspapers and blackberries – many dressed in blazers and slacks as they planned to go to work after filing an application – were waiting in line when the court’s marriage bureau opened its doors at 8:30 a.m. Employees allowed 10 couples to enter at a time, and had extra personnel on hand to accept the applications.
Every time a new state or municipality opens the doors to gay marriage it’s a celebration. And what’s a celebration without cake? In DC’s version the first 200 couples get cupcakes passed out by the DC city councilmember who authored the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, David Catania.
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Of course sometimes celebrations also have clowns, and for that we have perennial hate activist, the God-hates-fags man himself, Fred Phelps, also coming to DC. Washington City Paper blogger Amanda Hess has some pretty good suggestions for those who want to counter-protest Fred Phelps.
Tomorrow, Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church will be protesting the first day of same-sex marriage in the District. Why? Well, because “God hates fags! God hates fag-enablers! Ergo, God hates District of Columbia, all of DOOMED america, and the World! You’ve turned the country over to the fags; now your soldiers/fire fighters/cops/kids/parents/etc. are coming home in body bags! Judges 19-21. Praise God! Amen.”
One District resident has dared to defy this logic. Bridget Todd is organizing a Phelps counter-protest from 11-12 p.m. tomorrow outside of D.C. Superior Court. Todd also intends to challenge the creative signage of the most flamboyant hate group around (”Bitch Burger”?).
Hess has some wonderful examples of signs one can hold next to a Phelps. Because “God hates ___” has so many absurd possibilities which only makes counter-protesting the more fun!
But least you think DC is where all the gay marriage action is, another capitol city, Mexico City, is also getting into the spirit. The Washington Post reports:
The Mexican wedding may never be the same.
On Thursday, this sprawling megalopolis will catapult to the front lines of gay rights in Latin America when a city law legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption goes into effect.
This liberalization of gay marriage laws is occurring all over Central and South America.
With the news, same-sex couples across the region began to demand equal access to the altar.
“Homosexual Marriage is Approved in Mexico. And in Chile, When?” read a headline in Chilean news Web site El Paradiario 14.
On Feb. 23, Buenos Aires judge Elena Liberatori told a gay couple to set a wedding date, despite policies that are “not in line with the times.” In late December, two men whose wedding plans were derailed by a Buenos Aires court married in Tierra del Fuego — home to a tolerant governor — becoming the first gay couple in Latin America to legally wed.
Mexico City legalized same-sex civil unions in 2007; they also are recognized in Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, but advocates for gay rights say only marriage can protect the rights of families in such matters as property and custody.
Meanwhile even England, which legalized civil unions in 2004, is opening up a little more by voting to lift the ban on holding civil union ceremonies in churches. The BBC reports:
The House of Lords agreed an amendment to the Equality Bill which would allow, but not compel, religious organizations to host the occasions.
Gay rights campaigners celebrated the change, but opponents said it could be impractical and undermine marriage.
Peers voted by a majority of 74 in favor of the amendment, which was not backed by the government.
It is yet to be approved by the Commons, but it is thought to be unlikely that MPs would make any significant changes.
In Other News: The Associated Press is reporting that in Afghanistan some mullahs are promoting birth control and distributing condoms.
Some mullahs in Afghanistan are distributing condoms. Others are quoting the Quran to encourage longer breaks between births. Health experts say contraception is starting to catch on in a country with the world’s second highest maternal death rate.
Afghanistan’s maternal death rate of 1,800 per 100,000 live births is topped only by Sierra Leone worldwide, according to UNICEF. The U.S. rate is 11 per 100,000 births.
Quotes were used from the Quran to promote breast-feeding for two years, while local religious leaders, or mullahs, joined community and health leaders to explain the importance of spacing out births to give moms and babies the best chance at good health.
In total, 37 mullahs endorsed using contraceptives as a way to increase the time between births, some delivering the message during Friday prayers. The mullahs’ major concerns centered on safety and infertility, the report said.
“All the mullahs at the community level knew of these things that the Prophet Muhammad himself advised his followers,” Huber said. “This was not a hard sell.”
Islam, unlike Catholicism, does not fundamentally oppose birth control. Everything from vasectomies to abortions are supported in various parts of the Muslim world.
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